SIDNEY — The Sidney Planning Commission OK’d a buffer and transition plan request for a new development and also a lot/spit replat request during its Monday evening meeting.
The first application the commission considered was the previously tabled request of Chip Wells, on behalf of SHAJARA 3 LLC, for approval of a buffer and transition plan for the property at 2681 Wapakoneta Ave.; located north of Hoewisher Road. Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth said the Planning Commission initially considered the applicant’s proposal to construct a self-service storage facility in February, but the item was tabled until neighboring property owners’ response was received about the type of buffer to be installed. 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.
At the February meeting, Commission members Merrill Asher and 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 at the February meeting that 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 (in February) 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 at that meeting to table the issue until Wells can get a response and make a decision about putting vegetation in, or not. If he chose to install vegetation, such as bushes or trees, he would have needed to file a new application request with the city for consideration. However, after hearing back from neighbors, it was decided as a group the solid masonry wall was the best buffer solution. Upon hearing that information, the commission approved the request. Members thanked Wells for getting that information to them for making the decision.
The second issue before the commission Monday, was a request for approval CESO, on behalf of Compton Addy, is for the approval of a lot split/replat of one lot to create two new lots. The property is located in the CC, Corridor Commerce zone, on the south side of Michigan Street, west of Vandemark Road. The existing lot 7296 was created by a replat in August 2021.
Lot 7363 is 0.7786 acres and lot 7364 is 4.1266 acres, Dulworth said. Existing utility, stormwater, and private access easements will remain. No new easements are included with this replat.
Lot 7363 meets all zoning code and subdivision regulations for lot size, frontage, and lot depth to width ratio. Lot 7364 does not meet the maximum lot depth to width ratio of 3.5-to-1. The proposed lot has a width at the front setback of 40 feet and a depth of 748.62 so the lot depth to width ratio exceeds the regulation, Dulworth explained. The potential lot split and resulting non-conformance was discussed when the property was originally replatted in 2021. The developer has submitted a declaration of easements, covenants, and restrictions which will be recorded and will cover the three lots in this development. The declaration establishes the rights and responsibilities for use and maintenance of the shared facilities such as the shared access drive and detention basin. A user and development plan for the lot 7364 has not been identified at this time, she said. A site plan review will be completed prior to development, and will, among other reviews, ensure that the development includes appropriate turn-around for fire apparatus, garbage removal trucks, and other large utility vehicles.
As part of the replat, the applicant is requesting a waiver from the lot width to depth ratio. Section 1161.07 of the Subdivision Regulations allows the Planning Commission to waive such requirements that would result in undue hardship upon an owner “whenever a tract to be subdivided is of an unusual size or shape or is adjacent or abutting a natural or man-made feature…,” Dulworth told commission members. The depth of this property creates a difficulty for development. In this case, Dulworth said city staff supports approval of the waiver. Commission members agreed and approved waiving the the lot width to depth ratio and approving the the lot/split replat.