Report: Bay Village Planning Commission Meeting, March 5, 2014

This report, which contains observations and selected highlights, is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Official minutes will be posted on the city website.

The main agenda item was revisions to Chapter 1158, which governs attached residence (townhouse) developments.

Planning Commission chairman Bela Persanyi presented a new proposal that would define a per-unit acreage requirement, allowing smaller "pop-up" developments. For example, the previous working model allows 6-12 units per acre. Given the minimum acreage and maximum density, each townhouse development could have 15-18 units. The new model would allow roughly 6-10 units per acre, with developments of 10-15 units.

These smaller developments might be preferable because there would be less impact on the neighborhood and on infrastructure, such as sewers. There was discussion about the number of units required for a viable homeowners' association, as well as the number of units that might attract developers. A developer in the audience noted that Tremont has successful developments as small as three to four units.

Considerable discussion ensued about whether voters would approve the rezoning necessary for smaller developments. In November 2013, a rezoning issue passed in the city and the ward, but it was defeated in the precinct. This implies that Bay citizens are in favor of townhouse developments, just "not in my backyard." Size and quality aside, Councilmember Karen Lieske stated there might be opposition if townhouses are not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.

Planning Commission member Dave Maddux noted that small lots with high density do not fit the "stay in Bay" market defined in the 1999 Master Plan. A new survey of residents was discussed.

City Council has granted an extension for the Chapter 1158 review until April 8. Ms. Lieske invited Planning Commission members to the next meeting of Council's Planning, Zoning, Public Buildings and Grounds Committee on March 24 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall. The agenda will be to review the 1158.01 Intent section, the two acreage/density models, and Council's expectations of the Planning Commission in revising 1158.

The Bay Village Planning Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month in City Hall Council Chambers. Its charge includes city planning to secure harmonious development; to coordinate streets; to provide for open spaces, traffic, utilities, fire fighting access, recreation, light and air; and to avoid congestion.

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