Town gives split decision on land split

Town Board reverses Zoning Commission, approves rezoning for planned land division
by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Town resident Steven Falk got two answers to his zoning change request Tuesday, but the second answer was the one he was seeking.

The Town Zoning Commission recommended rejecting Falk’s rezoning request for his property on Oak Road after a public hearing.

Meeting next, the Town Board declined to follow the commission’s recommendation and instead approved the rezoning from A-2 agricultural land to R-1 single and two-family residential.

Falk explained he was seeking the rezoning so he and his wife can split their existing 5.53-acre lot into two lots.

They would sell off the existing lot and build a new ranch house on the new lot, roughly two acres to the west, he continued.

“We like the area and we’d like to stay there,” but the current two-story home and larger lot are becoming too much for the couple to take care of, Falk said.

Several of his neighbors in the Farm Hills subdivision raised objections during the public hearing. They expressed fear that dividing the lot could lead to greater housing density in their neighborhood.

“I’ve lived out there for 30 years now and I don’t want a whole village going in next to us,” Oak Road resident John Capelle stated. “We’re looking at keeping everything five acres out there.”

“When we purchased our lot, we were looking for an area with larger lots,” Oak View Lane resident Karen Krusiec added. “We never dreamt there would be some option of splitting it up.”

Falk countered that a subdivision with one and two-acre lots is right across the road, so his land split would not be out of order.

He also said he would not subdivide his property any further. “If we take off a two-acre lot and put a house in the middle of it, I don’t see how we could subdivide it more,” Falk stated.

A question arose over the Farm Hills subdivision covenants, which limit the size of lots to no less than five acres.

While the Falk property is part of the subdivision, he explained that they had been excused from the subdivision covenant provisions when they purchased the lot in 1979.

He also stressed that the R-1 zoning would place restrictions on land use that are not there in the A-2 zone. That includes keeping animals and other agricultural uses, Falk said.

“Your requesting residential zoning would create an island of residential zoning in the middle of agricultural zoning,” Commission Chair Janice Abraham told Falk. “The subdivision was developed with the thought that it would all be larger lots.”

The commission voted unanimously to recommend denying the rezoning, but the board voted unanimously to approve it.

Supervisor Gene Blindauer speculated that the Falks, if the zoning change is denied, would seek a large parcel elsewhere in the town that could take prime agricultural land out of that use.

“We’re trying to save land,” Supervisor Roger Rortvedt concurred.

“The purpose he has stated makes quite a bit of sense,” Supervisor Jack Hanke said of the Falks’ plans for their land.

“This is not agricultural land. I don’t see your property values diminishing because of this,” Hanke told the neighbors.

The Board of Adjustments, meeting prior to the Town Board meeting as well, granted a variance for Nicole Passini for her property at 878 Western Ave.

Passini, who recently purchased the property, hopes to build a new home on the footprint of the previous home there. But that would be closer to the center of the road and the side lot line than allowed under the town’s ordinances.

“I’m trying to keep it where it was basically because the best location for it is there,” Passini told the Board and Adjustments. In addition to existing utility connections, the terrain of the lot limits where a house can be located, she explained.


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