The Archbold Planning Commission voted against recommending a change in zoning for 15 parcels of property along Short-Buehrer Road at a meeting, Monday, Sept. 16.
Landon and Rachel Wyse, 405 Short-Buehrer Road, petitioned the Commission to change the zoning for 15 parcels from R-2, low-density residential property, to R-1, very low density residential.
The purpose of the zoning change was to prevent Gary and Nancy Grieser, who live in a new home constructed on Short Buehrer Road, from building up to eight units of multi-family housing on a two-acre parcel owned by Nancy Grieser.
Jan Stamm, the attorney representing the Wyses, said the construction of multifamily homes would damage the property values of those living in the neighborhood.
Gary Grieser, who attended the meeting, did not speak. He could not be reached for comment by this newspaper.
Multi-family homes, such as condominiums or zero lotline duplexes or three-unit, zero lot-line homes, are allowed as conditional uses in R-2 zoning, but not in R-1.
No Formal Proposal
Village officials at the meet- ing said the Griesers have made no formal proposal or zoning request to the village.
Carma Grime, village zoning inspector, said the village was shown a concept drawing which featured four duplexes plus two single-family homes, one of which would be the Griesers’ residence.
Grime said the concept was for the units to be owner-occupied– no rental properties.
Grime said originally, property on the south side of Short-Buehrer Road, west of 313 Short Buehrer, was offered as three lots with 150 foot frontage.
The Griesers purchased two of the lots several years ago; then, in July 2013, combined the two lots into one lot with 300 feet of frontage along Short-Buehrer Road.
Opponents of multi-family housing said the move was made to give the Griesers one lot with enough frontage to allow for multi-family homes.
The Griesers built a home at the southwest corner of the combined lot, set at an angle.
Brad Grime, 301 Lawrence Lane, asked if the Grieser house met zoning requirements. Village officials said it did for R-2 zoning, but not R-1.
Dennis Howell, village ad- ministrator, noted that three other houses in the area would not meet all requirements of very-low density residential.
Out of the 15 properties, 14 property owners agreed to sign a petition supporting the change to R-1 zoning, but Stamm said village officials would not accept it.
Stamm said the action to change the zoning would “protect the property values” of the other homeowners.
Al Holland, 238 Short- Buehrer, said if the purpose of the zoning board (Planning Commission) was to generate funds for the village, it would get an A.
But, he said, if the purpose was to protect property owners, he would give it an F.
He said Grime basically threw out the petition supporting the zoning change.
“We all take pride in our houses,” he told commission members.
Scott Burris, 317 Short- Buehrer Rd, said he had lived in the area nearly 20 years. He had seen development in the area, saying it was tastefully done, with enough space between houses to afford some privacy.
“We don’t need an apartment style complex” on the Grieser property, Burris said.
There were questions about why the Griesers were allowed to build their home as they did, and why they were allowed to combine two lots to one.
Brad Rupp, APC member, said without a formal proposal from the Griesers, the Commission could take no action.
Ed Leininger, APC president, said the board was being asked to make decisions about the property based on “hypothetical facts.”
Mark Hagans, village legal counsel, said the village had no say in combining the parcel. That, he said, was up to county officials.
It was also suggested village officials had given Grieser “implied consent” that a multi-family project would be allowed.
Village officials said Grieser was told whatever he proposed would have to meet the requirements of a conditional use, and his request for a conditional use would have to come before the village Zoning Board of Appeals.
Marcia Cody, APC member, said if the village approved the zoning change it would render the Griesers’ property essentially useless for the purpose for which they purchased it.
She questioned what message such a move would send to out-of-town developers looking to build in Archbold.
Stamm said the message would be that developers must consider what the rest of a neighborhood looks like before “trying to cram development down (people’s) throats.”
It avoids telling village residents,
“We make money; you lose your property value.”
He noted that having their proposals rejected is a risk developers take.
In response to a question from Rick Mueller, who owns a lot directly east of the Grieser property, village officials said any proposal that would require a conditional use, such as multi-family homes, would have to come before the zoning board.
Property owners within 200 feet of the proposed project would be notified.
Leininger called for a motion on the requested rezoning. After a long silence, Cody moved that the change not be recommended to council. Rupp seconded the motion.
Cody, Rupp, and APC members Jim Wyse and Don Spohler voted in favor of not recommending the petition.
Leininger abstained, stating Gary Grieser is his brother in-law, which he felt was a conflict.
Rupp thanked the approximately 40 people who attended the meeting.
He told the crowd they had helped the Commission “understand more what issues are involved.”–David Pugh