December 26, 2002
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Council approves changes to 50-foot lot regulations

Village Council last week agreed on changes to a Village zoning ordinance that could make it easier for property owners to build on small existing lots, sometimes called 50-foot lots, in town.

The measure amended section 1266.06 of the Village Zoning Code, the much talked about section governing nonconforming lots of record, or lots that are recorded with Greene County but do not meet the Village’s current zoning regulations.

Council’s action loosens the restrictions that had been placed on these vacant lots, by eliminating three requirements limiting who could build on these substandard lots. This should make more lots available for construction, Village Manager Rob Hillard has said.

In August, Council members, saying they were interested in stimulating growth in Yellow Springs, directed Planning Commission to review the Village zoning laws for 50-foot lots. An ad hoc group charged with investigating abandoned homes in town had also proposed that the Village simplify its 50-foot lots rules. Last month, plan board unanimously recommended Council amend section 1266.06.

Council unanimously approved the second reading of the ordinance at its meeting Dec. 16. Council member George Pitstick, who was the only person to comment on the change last week, said, “I think it’s a good change at this time.”

The ordinance changes the zoning laws to allow single-family housing to be built on existing lots that are 50 feet wide in Residence A and 40 feet wide in Residences B and C. Property owners must still meet other zoning requirements before getting approval to build on the lots.

The measure only affects existing lots of record and does not address new lots that could be created in the future by lot splits and other zoning methods.

It also does not directly nullify the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit program that Council approved a couple of years ago. The program allows nonprofit organizations or government agencies to partner with the Village to build homes that are considered affordable on nonconforming lots of record.

No houses have been built under the program since it was approved.

A study conducted in the late 1990s by local resident Ilse Tebbetts found there were approximately 80 recorded 50-foot lots in Yellow Springs, although it i
s unclear how many meet zoning standards and therefore could be built upon.

—Robert Mihalek

Council budget sessions
Village Council will hold budget workshops on Wednesday, Jan. 22, Wednesday, Jan. 29, and Thursday, Jan. 30, 7–9 p.m., in the Bryan Center, meeting rooms A and B.
During the sessions, Council and Village staff members will review the 2003 Village budget. The meetings are open to the public.