Zoning Board Considers Request To Subdivide A Carter Street Property, Which Requires A Variance

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Sulphur Springs Zoning Board of Adjustments during the regular December meeting considered a Carter Street property subdivision variance request.

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The applicant, Dave McIlrath of McIlrath Properties of Greenville asked for a variance for lot sizes for 407 Carter Street in Sulphur Springs. The developer plans to split the lot into two lots to build brick homes on the lots, which are more than 5,500 square feet in size. That’s roughly 496 square feet smaller than the 6,000-square foot requirement for single family development lots.

According to Sulphur Springs Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski, “the purpose of the lot size requirements are to establish aesthetic character in districts and to prevent the overcrowding of land. The applicant has indicated that it would not be an issue to meet the dimensional setbacks for the building envelope.”

McIlrath Properties submitted to Sulphur Springs Zoning Board of Adjustments a request to subdivide the property requiring a variance to the lot size dimensions for property located at 407 Carter St.

The net square footage for lot would be 5,523 square feet and the other would be 5,504 square feet. The frontage for each lot, as proposed would be 51.72-feet, according to the proposal submitted by McIlrath. Three photos of new homes the developer has built in the surrounding areas were submitted with the request and information from McIlrath to city officials.

City staff mailed notices to nearby property owners of Tuesday evening’s ZBA meeting during which the variance request was considered. The city received only one response to those letters, an individual undecided regarding the proposal. The response indicated concern that a change in the city guidelines would affect property values around it. A desire was expressed for more information regarding exactly what the developer was proposing for the property, whether it would include duplexes or triplexes.

The lot is zoned multifamily, but as proposed would be developed as single family properties with single family homes on them.

Nicole Harrison, whose family has property in the area, expressed concern for the new homes being constructed in existing areas, homes valued considerably higher than those around it, which in turn are likely to raise those values, making it very difficult for senior citizens living nearby to pay their taxes. That in turn forces them to relocate to a nursing facility or with a family member, losing some of their independence and the invaluable stability, lessons and heritage they bring to the neighborhood. While she applauded the city in wanting to improve things, financial improvements can’t replace the value the residents no longer able to remain in their homes lend to the neighborhoods, bringing other negative issues. She said she does not feel it is right to force older residents out.

“I think it’s sad. Even though you say money is money, all money is not good money,” she said.

Neiwiadomski said city staff recommended granting approval for the property to be platted into two lots with equal frontage to best comply with the zoning ordinance for the two existing lots.

The Zoning Board of Adjustments member James Litzler made a motion to approve the request to subdivide the property requiring a variance to the lot size dimensions for property located at 407 Carter St.

Board member Kevin Mohl seconded the motion, which passed on a 4-1 vote, with Gary Clem casting the dissenting vote.

Author: Faith Huffman

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