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Centralia P&Z considers zero lot lines

Posted on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 6:06 am

Zero lot lines and other zoning esoterica, such as subdivision sketch plans were on the menu for Centralia’s Planning and Zoning Commission the evening of June 12 in Centralia City Hall. With one person over a quorum, minus Mayor Chris Cox and committee members Brian Maenner and Landon Magley, the commission dove in.

Centralia P&Z Commissioner Lynn Behrns expresses himself.

First was a chat regarding a sketch plan for the Rylee’s Park subdivision. Commissioner  Lynn Behrns had questions regarding plot lines and the possibility that the document submitted did not include all the property. “The mappers mis-mapped it,” said Don Bormann, there as a surveyor.

Behrns also asked if there was an existing easement, no, said Bormann.

“Has anybody talked to the church about people taking shortcuts through their parking lot to get to the subdivision?” Bormann said the parking lot was blocked off on that side.

There was also discussion regarding potential drainage and manhole positioning. “There would be ADA ramps on the sidewalks to the entrance to the cul-de-sac,” Behrns asked.

“Yes,” said Bormann.

He also said in response to another question: “Mrs. Ball does not want to give an easement for sewer access… What Boyd Harris, the developer intends to do, he said, was install septic tanks.

Depending on the number or residences, “that’s going to be an awful lot of little lines,” Behrns said, “Each of those residences may have to have their own little line… The Department of Natural Resources may have something to say about that… I think

Developer Boyd Harris listens.

DNR regs may need to be researched.”

Bormann said there was no intent to remove a line of trees between the Ball property and the proposed development.

They unanimously approved the sketch plat for the Rylee’s Park subdivision.

Then came zero lot lines.

City Administrator Heather Russell said she had received several inquiries on the topic because at this particular point in time City code does not allow zero lot lines. “It essentially allows you to have a townhouse on each side of the lot line.

It will allow each unit to have its own address instead of an “A” and a B,” said Darren Adams, explaining some of the differences.

Borman added that it included items such as a “one-hour firewall” within the structure.

Russsell said it could also affect whether an area is zoned R-1 or R-2.

Boorman recommended it be R-2 or R-3 zoning.

Behrns asked Boyd Harris, who is also chair of the County P&Z Commission, if the county allowed zero lot lines. He said they did at one time, but the current answer is “I don’t know why they don’t do that anymore.” He said it would be appropriate for multi-family residences such as town houses, but not for single-family residences.

Harris said zero lot lines might allow the city “to do something new and different.”

Is there really a need for it right now? Behrns asked

There are people here who are interested in it,” Bormann said. “There are people that cannot afford a whole townhouse…”

Darren Adams spoke in favor of it, “We are running out of lots again.”

Terms such as lot split, ownership, planned development, and density were also discussed.

Behrns recommended trying to find the relevant ordinance the county formerly used so developers and contractors from outside the city had the same expectations.

Harris recommended modeling it after Moberly’s, “which is working and working well,” he said, after Behrns suggested Adams and Harris work together to submit suggestions for a zero-lot line ordinance. “You both have dogs in this hunt,” Behrns said. “I just want to make sure the ordinance is workable and doesn’t have a bunch of surprises.”

“We do have zero lot lines,” Bormann said. “It’s called downtown.”

In other other lot-line discussion they reviewed an easement along lot-lines, 10-feet wide, five on each side of the lot line, containing street lights for Southwest Country Estates, which had been previously approved by an earlier commission. After discussion they re-approved the plan.

Then the meeting inched toward an end as Lee Allen Smith suggested he was resigning as P&Z chair.

With that they adjourned