November 7, 2002

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Planning Commission business—
Board to hold hearing on small lot

The Village Planning Commission will hold a public hearing this Monday, Nov. 11, to consider a proposal that would make it easier to build houses on existing small lots in Yellow Springs.

The proposal would amend section 1266.06 of the Village Zoning Code, which governs nonconforming lots of record, or lots that are recorded with the Greene County Recorder’s office but do not meet current Village zoning requirements. These lots are often called 50-foot lots because many are 50 feet wide.

At their meeting Oct. 14, plan board members said they supported a proposal from Village Manager Rob Hillard that repeals some of the restrictions on these small lots, making it legal to build single-family houses on certain lots that do not meet current zoning regulations.

The proposal would still have to be ratified by Village Council, which has final say over changes to the Zoning Code. Council would likely hold a first reading on the proposal at its next meeting, Nov. 18.

At its meeting Monday, plan board will consider whether to recommend that Council approve the measure.

The proposal would loosen the restrictions on nonconforming lots by eliminating three requirements in the current Zoning Code. Because these requirements involve ownership of these small parcels, they limit who can build on the lots. Removing the restrictions would make more lots available for new construction, Hillard said after the meeting.

Under the proposal, lots that are 40 feet wide in zoning districts Residences B and C and 50 feet wide in Residence A would be eligible for construction if the proposal is approved. Currently, development can occur on lots that are 60 feet wide in Residence B and C and 75 feet wide in Residence A. Construction would be limited to single-family residences.

Plan board members said the proposal was only a first step and that they want to consider changing other zoning restrictions to make more small lots eligible for construction in Residence B and C, which include the center and northern end of Yellow Springs. Commission member Bruce Rickenbach, for instance, suggested the Village consider allowing houses to be built on all lots that are at least 45 feet wide in Residence C and 50 feet wide in Residence B.

In other Planning Commission business:

• Plan board unanimously approved a conditional use request from Friends Care Community to expand its independent living facility. Planners approved the request with several conditions: only part of the facility can be developed right now under the current permit; Friends Care must explore options to build up more screening, such as trees, on its western and southern sides of its property; the facility must mark all setback areas prior to beginning construction; and the facility must address concerns regarding the traffic traveling between Friends Care and Antioch on residential streets.

Dick Eastman, president of the Friends Health Care Association Board of Directors, did not object to the conditions. Friends Care plans to build 16 duplexes on an as needed basis. He estimated it could take 10 to 20 years to complete the project.

Several of the facility’s neighbors expressed concern that there would not be enough of a buffer between their properties and the facility as it expands. Eastman said Friends Care would try to work with its neighbors to satisfy their concerns.

• Planning Commission unanimously agreed to support a plan to collect data from area builders and contractors about the obstacles they have encountered when they have tried to build new homes in Yellow Springs. At their meeting Oct. 21, Village Council members said they supported the plan.

• Planning Commission chair John Struewing recommended the Village participate in the Tree City USA program as part of an effort to protect trees in Yellow Springs. Plan board agreed to discuss the program at its meeting Monday.

—Robert Mihalek