FARMINGTON -- Farmington Planning Commission unanimously denied two requests last week, one to rezone property and the other, a variance from the requirement to submit a large-scale development plan.
Jerry Coyle, representing property owner Alma Belcher, asked the Commission to rezone property at 133 E. Neal St., from R-1, single family residential, to multi-family.
The house at this address burned last summer and the site has been cleared. Coyle said Belcher wanted to do something to invest in the property and he thought a multi-family zone would fit because other duplexes are located in the area, including one across the street from the property.
Coyle was proposing to built a duplex on the land and said the structure would have to be built to face Brown Street, not Neal Street.
Four property owners on Neal addressed planners, saying they opposed a duplex being built in a single-family residential zone.
Samantha Jerry, who has a double lot across from the property, said she was concerned about additional traffic from a duplex. She said the corner has a four-way stop and most cars do not stop at it.
Traffic also has increased, she said, because people are using a back route through Neal Street to avoid the new traffic light at Rupple Road.
Jerry said the western section of Neal Street has duplexes but the area where she lives is single family homes.
Steve Wilson of 140 Neal St., said his question was if the Planning Commission rezoned the land, "Where do we stop?"
Another neighbor, Jeff Wilson, said he purchased his home at 148 Neal St. three years ago and his equity has already increased by $20,000. He feared property values would go down because of the duplexes and said he also was concerned about traffic and how it would affect safety for children playing in the area.
City Attorney Steve Tennant reminded commissioners of the common saying he uses when people ask to rezone land or request variances.
"If you allow this you are opening up Pandora's Box," Tennant said. "You're saying to a R-1 zone that if a house burns down, you can put in multi-family."
Tennant pointed out the city's zoning ordinance defines an MF-1 zone as one that serves as a buffer from higher to lower density developments.
The homes on Neal Street around the property are all single family homes, Tennant said.
"I would be cautious in doing this," he advised.
Commissioners voting against the rezoning request were Jay Moore, Gerry Harris, Bobby Wilson, Judy Horne, Matt Hutcherson and Toni Bahn. Howard Carter was absent.
The second request came from Jesse Fulcher with Rausch Coleman Homes. He asked to be exempt from submitting a large scale development plan for a 2,200-square-foot storage building on Lot 6 of Holland Crossing commercial subdivision.
The property has about 4 acres and has been used as a storage yard for vehicles and construction equipment for the past 10 years. Recently, a tractor was stolen from the property and Rausch Coleman wants to put in a storage building to secure the property.
Fulcher said he was requesting the variance because the use of the land will not change. He noted street improvements are already in place and the company would comply with the city's landscape requirements.
Melissa McCarville, city business manager, said the city's concern was drainage from the new building. She asked the city's engineer, Chris Brackett, to weigh in and Brackett pointed out once a developer met drainage and landscape requirements, that basically was submitting a large scale development plan.
Tennant said drainage is "always, always, always" an issue.
"That's why it is required. It's not just a building," Tennant told Fulcher.
Wilson informed his colleagues his vote would be no to the variance request.
"It needs to go through the process from A to Z, the whole bit," Wilson said.
All six commissioners at the meeting voted against the variance request.General News on 04/04/2018
Print Headline: Planners Turn Down Requests From Developers