Planning Commission OKs 1 request, tables other

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The Sidney Planning Commission made an appointment to the Regional Planning Commission, tabled a buffer and transition plan request for a new development and OK’d the final plat of phase II of the Burr Oak Subdivision during its Tuesday evening meeting.

The Planning Commission voted to appoint Alysha Osborne to replace Amy Klingler, who recently resigned from her appointment mid-term. The city of Sidney appoints three representatives to the Shelby County Regional Planning Commission. Osborne’s appointment will be for the remainder of Klingler’s term, ending Dec. 31, 2022, followed by a new, full, three-year term to begin on Jan. 1, 2023. This term will expire on Dec. 31, 2025.

The first application the commission considered was the request of Chip Wells, on behalf of SHAJARA 3 LLC, for approval of a buffer and transition plan for the property located 2681 Wapakoneta Ave., north of Hoewisher Road. Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth said the applicant is proposing to construct a self-service storage facility. The property is in the CC corridor commerce zone (previously known as the B-2, community business district).

A site plan for a self-storage facility is currently being reviewed by city staff. Dulworth said, because the development plan and application for permits were submitted on Jan. 26, 2022, prior to the effective date of the newly adopted zoning code, this development will be reviewed and regulated under the previous regulations of the zoning code that was in effect at the time of application.

The zoning code requires a buffer and transition plan when “any new development … occurs where property lines separate an industrial, business or office zoning district or use from a residential zoning district or use.” In this case, Dulworth said, a buffer and transition plan is required between the subject property and the adjacent residential properties to the west. The proposed buffer is a 6-foot-solid masonry wall, which is one of the approved buffers per the zoning code, located adjacent to the west property line.

When recommending the Planning Commission to approve the buffer and transition plan as submitted, Dulworth said it is city staff’s opinion the plan provides the necessary visual and sound buffering between the incompatible uses.

Commission member Merrill Asher and Commission Chair David Gross both asked about trees/vegetation being used instead of a wall as a buffer and also about adjacent property owners response to the buffer. Dulworth noted vegetation/trees would take up significantly more of the property, and one of the two adjacent neighbors expressed no issues with the proposal. Wells, who was in attendance, said it would save him money and has no problem putting in vegetation, and in fact, would prefer vegetation instead of the wall, but understood the wall was the basic requirement necessary in order to get the request granted so he could continue on with the project. Wells said he had not heard back from the other property owner yet, as that owner rents the nearby property and does not live there, but hopes they would agree to vegetation.

The commission decided to table the issue until Wells can get a response and make a decision about putting vegetation in, or not. If he chooses to install vegetation, such as bushes or trees, it will be necessary to file a new application request with the city for consideration.

The second issue before the commission Tuesday, was a request for approval of Choice One Engineering, on behalf of MSGA Development, for final plat approval for Burr Oak Subdivision, phase II. The subdivision is located on the north side of Russell Road, west of St Marys Avenue and east of Interstate 75.

A preliminary plat was approved at the June 21, 2021, Planning Commission meeting. This phase includes 54 new residential lots, extension of three streets and three new streets.

Hoewisher Road, the thoroughfare through the subdivision, will extend north through phase II, with a right-of-way width of 80 feet, Dulworth told the commission. Two local streets within the subdivision will be extended to a cul-de-sac terminus: Bishop Court, on the east side of Hoewisher Road, and Castle Court, which extends to the west of Hoewisher Road. The three new streets are local streets with direct access to the lots and have a right-of-way width of 50 feet. White Oak is a north-south street parallel to Hoewisher Road, Gray Oak extends west from White Oak, and Shaggy Bark Drive extends west from Hoewisher Road. The street width for Hoewisher Road in this phase will be 41-feet curb-to-curb, with no on-street parking, and the street width of the remaining streets will be 32 feet curb-to-curb, with parking on one side.

There are five open space lots, Dulworth said. These open space lots are adjacent to Hoewisher Road, Russell Road, and the east side of the subdivision; are intended for buffering landscaping for the subdivision; and are non-buildable.

Parkland dedication for this plat is required to be 0.486 acres, per the formula in the zoning code, she said. Parkland has been identified in phase III of this subdivision, so dedication of parkland is not proposed as part of phase II. The Parks and Recreation Board has reviewed the parkland proposed in phase III and voted to recommend approval of the park plan as submitted. For phase I, a fee in lieu of dedication will be required in the amount of $24,300.

Front setback lines are established for each lot on this plat at 25 feet, which matches the minimum front setback per the zoning code for the R-1, residential single unit zone in which the property is located. The plat includes utility easements of 5 feet along all side lot lines and 10 feet utility easement along the street frontages. The covenants for this phase are the same covenants as those for Phase 1, and have been reviewed by city staff to ensure there are no contradictions with city regulations.

The engineer’s estimate and construction plans for development of the subdivision’s infrastructure are currently under review, Dulworth said. Once approved, a surety must be submitted for the amount of the estimate before the final plat will be forwarded to City Council.

When a call was made for member questions, Asher said he has been opposed to the plan from its first introduction because of the curb-to-curb street width that he fears is not wide enough. He noted for safety reasons, they should be sure to have enough room for emergency vehicles to get around through there, especially with as much as these new homes will be costing. Dulworth reminded him parking will only be allowed on one side of the roadway and each home will have plenty of parking on their actual property. When pressed by Gross about the same concern he had about space on the road, Dulworth said it will allow for 20 to 25 feet for fire ladder trucks to get through.

Deputy Fire Chief Dallas Davis, who was present in the audience, was asked about the concern. He said it could be tight for a ladder truck, but 20 feet is the requirement.

Asher, and Gross, expressed further concern, but Asher noted that the design is within the requirements.

When the final plat request came up for a vote, it passed with a 4-0 vote. Ehler was absent Tuesday. Gross initially tried to abstain from voting. Dulworth asked him the reason for his abstention, and he said it was because he did not feel that part of the plan was safe for adequate room on the roadway for emergency vehicles. Dulworth told him she did not believe he could abstain for that reason, and he would have to vote either yes or no. He then changed his vote to a yes, but only because he was put into that “corner.” He further noted that Vice Mayor Steve Wagner, City Council’s liaison member to the commission, was present and heard the concerns of the commission, and he was certain Wagner would take back and share with other council members.

The Regional Planning Commission appointment and the Bur Oak Subdivision final plat phase II approval will be forwarded to Sidney City Council for recommendation for approval at a future council meeting.

Board member Tom Ehler was absent Tuesday and was excused by the commission.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]