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Centralia P&Z revisits zero lot lines

Posted on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 7:29 am

A sparse, four-member crowd attended the August 8 meeting of Centralia’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Centralia P&Z members Phil Hoffman, left, and Landon Magley, examine a proposed plat.

Chris Cox, Centralia mayor, attended by speaker-phone.

Commission members Dale Hughes and Susan Aleshire were absent.

First order of business was to elect a new chairman to replace LeeAllen Smith who retired last meeting after 12 years of service

Susan Aleshire was the only one nominated to the post.

Don Bagley was nominated as vice chair. With no other nominations for either post, both were taken as elections.

From there they discussed introducing zero lot lines to Centralia’s Board of Aldermen. City Administrator Heather Russell said the topic was not to be approved that evening but to come to exactly in what form the supporting ordinance would be presented to the aldermen.

They agreed to meet August 29 for more details.

Darren Adams presented a layout of what he planned for the Alco, Allen and Southwest project, “a very minor portion of a sketch plat, so people could see the idea.” He said it would be a planned development for those 55 and older.

Russell suggested that a similar ordinance used by Kearney would be a good one to emulate.

Russell said the development would be zoned “R-1PD, residential planned.” He said he did not intend any demolition on the site until after January 1.

Adams said in his opinion would not matter so long as zero lot lines, which permit attached single-family dwellings, were included as approved.

City Attorney Cydney Mayfield clarified that meant dwellings having common walls.

Commissioner Lynn Behrns said he would insist that each residence have independent utilities, along with “covenants of some sort and a maintenance easement to permit repairs.”

Also, speaking from the audience Ward I Alderman Don Bormann warned against writing an ordinance that “Loaded cost on the front end… Before the developer knows if it is going to be approved… Why would a developer want to spend all that money on engineering and surveying before he knew if the zoning would be approved? That’s just ridiculous.”

Mayfield suggested working from a “concept plan.”

Bormann said the goal of the commission should not be to make the process difficult for the developer.

Cox agreed that it did not make sense for a developer to incur a lot of cost to be able to apply, “before knowing if the project would be approved by a city… In our city they should be able get the approval first.” He said that meant working from a “concept plat,” which does not require a surveyor’s and engineer’s input.

Behrns said having a public hearing before such investments were made might be a good thing.

Adams said he hoped the eventual ordinance “would not require needing six months to get the plat through.”

Bormann suggested forming a work group to study the question, composed of himself, Behrns and Boyd Harris, who is chairman of Boone County’s P&Z Commission.

Commissioner Phil Hoffman said he had concerns about accepting ordinances written by developers or builders as opposed to written by city staff.

The committee will include Harris, Bormann, Adams, Behrns, Russell and Mayfield. It is tasked to bring something to discuss at the September 3 meeting.

Adams agreed to rescind his request the development be zoned R-3, until after he saw what ordinance was written.

From there they unanimously approved a final plat for the Darby subdivision at the corner of Booth and Jefferson Streets.