RICHFIELD — Precedent is a big decision, so the village Plan Commission declined to set it.
Faced with the possibility of creating an ordinance to address one resident’s request to condense his property, spread into three lots, the Plan Commission decided instead to take the easy way out at its meeting Thursday, rather than create a law that would have governed the rest of the village, excluding lake properties.
The commission members were tasked with finding a way to accommodate a landowner with three lots on Highway 175. The lots are substandard, meaning the lots are smaller than a standard- sized lot. Generally that’s not a problem, until a landowner wants to sell the properties or build on them. The landowner in this case had a buyer interested in purchasing the property and developing it.
“It’s a common issue in that part of the village,” Otto said. He was especially interested in accommodating the landowner because building that area of Highway 175 could jumpstart other developments.
“It could start the redevelopment of the old hamlet of Richfield. I think this is something here worth doing,” Otto said.
Under the commission’s fix, members decided to recommended that a provision be included in the village’s existing ordinance governing lot consolidation that says that property owners can petition the Village Board to merge adjoining lots, even if the merger creates a lot that is still substandard. As it stands, there are very specific instances when a lot can be joined. Changing those standards would be quite tricky, Village Trustee Bill Collins said.
“It would have to be done so carefully,” he said. “It’s very, very complicated.”
According to village documents, an ordinance concerning lot consolidation would require specific standards for landowners to petition the Village Board for merging the lots. The Village Board could decide to merge the lots, adjust the property boundary between them, require rezoning or leave the lots as they stand. The ordinance would have to include decision criteria and standardized definitions, a process that could take months to accomplish, Otto said.
But, the ordinance could still happen.
“In the next 12-18 months, we’re going to be looking very globally at our zoning code,” Interim Village Administrator Jim Healy said. “This might be something we can look at over the next few months.”