Commission grants subdivision request, denies zone change
After hearing public comments, the county board of commissioners voted last week to allow the development of phase three of the Ballpark subdivision in Carbonville. But Carbon lawmakers decided to deny a requested change near Creekview Elementary from a residential zone to a commercial zone.
The Ballpark subdivision was contested by county residents who live near the proposed development project. The subdivision project lies north of Prazen Lane and is accessible at the north end of 1500 West in Carbonville.
At the time of the public hearing, Carbon commissioners decided to delay approval until concerns regarding the 20-lot subdivision could be addressed and actions could be taken to allow development to continue.
"We don't want the county to feel like we're trying to bully them," said attorney Dusten Heugly, who spoke on behalf of Jeff Spainhower, the subdivision developer. "We just want to get the subdivision approved."
Heugly pointed out that adding any restrictions that are not in the county building code to the development may not be lawful.
Since all previous concerns had been addressed, the subdivision should be approved, said the attorney.
However, commissioners discussed the issue at length before voting 2-1 in favor of the development.
Commissioner Steven Burge, the dissenting vote in the matter, said he still had reservations regarding the planned subdivision.
"There are issues with health, safety and the welfare of the community," said Burge.
However, Commissioner Michael Milovich offered a different opinion, stating that all reasonable concerns had been addressed.
The county had addressed road improvements and drainage concerns which will improve the flow of traffic and water in and around the subdivision.
"In my opinion, I think the subdivision ought to be approved, subject to a final drainage plan," said Milovich.
The drainage plan has been reviewed by engineers retained by the county, and in a preliminary review of the plan, engineers said they could see no problems.
And before the drainage plan can be approved, developers will need to grade roads and individual lots to determine the necessary drainage.
Previous discussion on the subdivision had also addressed the need to improve access for vehicles along 1500 West, the only paved access in or out of the location of the development project.
And while commissioners stated that a second access would be preferred, a traffic study, paid for by Spainhower, had shown that the road is more than adequate to handle the existing homes and the 20 lots to be developed.
However, noting that for safety reasons, county officials indicated that a secondary access would be preferable.
"There is not going to be any more development until there is a secondary access," said Milovich as part of his motion to approve the subdivision.
The commissioner pointed out that restriction applied to all potential development in the area and was not exclusive to Spainhower's plans for more homes.
Spainhower has also agreed to a number of off-site improvements for the subdivision.
"I think Mr. Spainhower has bent over backward," said Milovich, noting that the entire area around the subdivision will be improved as a result.
In an unrelated matter, the commission unanimously denied a zone change request by Robert Miller, who owns more than seven acres located north of Creekview Elementary.
Miller's land is partially located within Price, but more than three acres are located in unincorporated Carbon County and is bisected by U.S. Highway 6.
The unincorporated area is currently zoned as rural residential with 2.5 acre lots.
Miller requested that the property be rezoned as retail commercial so he can build storage units at the site.
Mark Mackiewicz, who owns a home adjacent to Miller's property, questioned whether the county would be acting properly to allow the zone change.
"The change would create an island of commercial property," said Mackiewicz. He said the change completely defeated the purpose of the rural residential zone and was not conducive to the legislative intent of the zoning ordinances.
With the property located some 300 feet from Creekview Elementary, Mackiewicz also was concerned that the planned use of the property would bring trucks, illegal drugs and unwanted people into the area.
"I implore you to vote no on Mr. Miller's request to rezone this property from residential to commercial," concluded Mackiewicz.
Other residents of the area echoed similar concerns, stating they were worried about the safety of the children and wanted to preserve the quiet neighborhood which they currently enjoy.
Milovich, who sits on the county planning and zoning board, said he had his own concerns regarding the property.
Milovich expressed his opinion that zoning officials had erred in recommending the zone change to the commission for approval.
Burge pointed out that a change would open the property for 22 uses not allowed in residential zones.
Given the public opposition and the opinion that the zone change would not promote proper land use planning, the commission voted unanimously against Miller's request.
Gayla Williams, deputy zoning administrator, pointed out that a zone change may still be in order. Because Miller's land is bisected by U.S. Highway 6, it is not possible to develop within the current zoning guidelines.
Williams said a zone change to a residential zone with a smaller lot size may be appropriate. For such a zone change to occur, Miller will need to have his request heard by the planning and zoning board and the county commission will need to hear the matter again.