March 13, 2003
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Planning Commission—
Board approves Village Plan amendments

The Village Planning Commission agreed Monday to recommend that the Village reduce the frontage requirements in all three of the Village’s residential zoning districts, allowing new homes to be built on smaller lots.

The proposal recommends that the Village amend section 1250.02 of the Village Zoning Code, which governs permitted uses in the three residential districts.

Plan board members have said that they wanted to roll back the frontage, or lot width, standards so that the standards correspond with the districts’ original platting.

The commission’s proposal would change the lot-width standards as follows:

• Residence A to 60 feet from 75

• Residence B to 50 feet from 60

• Residence C to 45 feet from 60

The proposal only affects single-family dwellings. Other zoning requirements, such as setbacks, would not change.

At its meeting March 10, the commission made quick work of this proposal and two others, unanimously approving all three measures during a busy night of public hearings, which generated scant interest from the public.

The proposals now move to Village Council, which must approve the recommendations for them to become official. Council will hold first readings on the proposals at its meeting Monday, March 17.

Plan board’s lot-width proposal is one of a series of actions related to housing issues the commission has taken or may consider. Last year, the commission approved a recommendation to relax the restrictions placed on so-called 50-foot lots, or nonconforming lots of record. Council made that recommendation law.

In addition, Planning Commission has discussed creating a new zoning district, Residence A1, which would replace the current Residence A, if that district were changed. The frontage requirement in Residence A1 would be 75 feet.

Comprehensive Plan revisions

Plan board’s public hearing on recommended changes to the Village Comprehensive Plan marked the end of a project for the commission that started well more than a year ago.

Since 2001, Planning Commission has been revising the plan, which directs the Village on land-use and development decisions as well as other Village services, including zoning laws.

Planning Commission member Bruce Rickenbach said that the plan should serve plan board and Council as a guide and that Village should make decisions that reflect the plan. He said that the Comprehensive Plan “deserves respect” and should be referenced often.

Perhaps the most significant change in the plan is the reflection of more support for development. It says that the community believes in “planned growth” and that the Village “should take proactive measures” to support the local economy. The plan says the community should “aggressively address the need for new industry and commerce” as well as support existing businesses.

The plan also says that “planned moderate” housing growth, including affordable housing, “is needed and should be encouraged.”

Council president Tony Arnett, who attended the meeting for George Pitstick, Council’s representative on the commission, said the revised plan reflects a “change in mindset,” which he called refreshing. The plan now outlines what the community will support, not what it will not support, he said. “No longer does our plan say we are a community that says

‘no,’ ” Arnett said.

Minor subdivision change

Planning Commission’s third hearing involved a proposal to amend the Village’s minor subdivision regulations, 1226.11, to allow up to five lots to be created from one parcel.

The current regulation allows three lots to be created, or divided from one parcel.

The amendment reflects State law for minor subdivisions.

A minor subdivision is an easy way to divide a large parcel into smaller lots. The division must occur on land that is located on an existing public road.

* * *

In other Planning Commission business:

• Ted Donnell, the president of Axis Architecture, gave a presentation on a proposed housing development he wants to build on Hull Court. The development will include 10 houses and a large common area. Donnell said that a homeowners association would be responsible for maintenance. He said he hopes to market the development to empty-nesters and people on a fixed income. The entire development should be completed in two years, he said.

Axis plans to request a site plan review for the proposal. Planning Commission agreed to hold a public hearing on the request at its next meeting, April 14. If the commission approves the request, it would be forwarded to Council, which must also approve it.

After discussing the site plan review requirements, Struewing told Donnell, “it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of opposition to your project, so far.”

• Planning Commission and Council will hold a special joint meeting Monday, March 24, 7 p.m., in meeting rooms A and B, Bryan Community Center, to discuss two of Council’s goals for the year, promoting business and residential growth.


—Robert Mihalek