board calls for easing zoning restrictions on small lots
Planning Commission Monday approved a proposal amending one section of
the Village Zoning Code to make it easier for property owners to build
housing on small, substandard lots in Yellow Springs.
During a public hearing Nov. 11, plan board unanimously agreed to recommend
that Village Council loosen the restrictions placed on lots less than
60 feet wide. The proposal only deals with existing lots and does not
address new lots that could be created through other means, such as lot
Council, which has final say over changes to the Zoning Code, will now
take up the measure and must approve it for the proposal to become law.
In August, in an effort to spark residential growth in town, Council asked
Planning Commission to review the Villages restrictions on small
lots. Plan board members responded by passing one proposal Monday, saying
they would consider a more substantial proposal, which could allow housing
to be built on more small lots, to change the minimum zoning requirements,
A study conducted several years ago by local resident Ilse Tebbetts reported
that there were approximately 80 50-foot lots in town, though it is unclear
how many meet zoning standards.
The proposal would remove three restrictions in section 1266.06 of the
code, which governs nonconforming lots of record, or parcels, that are
recorded with the Greene County recorders office but do not meet
current Village zoning standards. Around town, these types of lots are
informally called 50-foot lots because many are 50 feet wide.
The three requirements that may be removed from the code limit who can
build on these substandard lots.
Currently, the Zoning Code allows single-family houses to be built on
lots that are at least 75 feet wide in Residence A and 60 feet wide in
Residences B and C.
If Council approves the proposal, zoning laws would allow single-family
housing to be built on existing lots of record that are 50 feet wide in
Residence A and 40 feet wide in Residences B and C. Property owners would
still have to meet other zoning requirements, such as setback, before
getting approval to build housing on these small lots.
According to a Village zoning map, Residence B is the largest residential
zoning district in Yellow Springs and includes most of the central and
northern area of town. Residence B allows for medium-density, single-,
two- and three-family and multifamily residential development as well
as row house residential development.
Residence C includes the neighborhood around Mills Lawn School and near
downtown. Residence C allows for high-density, one-, two- and three-family
and multifamily residential development as well as row house development.
Residence A includes the south end of town and the far western and northern
neighborhoods in Yellow Springs. Residence A allows for medium-density
single-family residential development.
During the public hearing Monday, two local residents spoke out against
the proposal. Elizabeth Goode said the Village should not consider the
proposal until after a community visioning process takes place. Council
is organizing a visioning process to help villagers define their goals
for the future.
Ann Gayek said she likes the open lots that are frequently found in town
because they provide pockets of green space. Filling in the village with
houses would be a loss, she said.
The Planning Commission chair, John Struewing, said the proposal would
not create a huge change in the village. He also pointed out
that certain areas of Yellow Springs were designed to have parcels that
are 50 feet wide.
In 1981, the Village Zoning Code was changed and the minimum requirements
for lot widths were increased to the current standards.