In a unanimous decision Monday evening, the village council voted to direct the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to consider an amendment to the zoning code as it related to single-family residence construction in lots less than 30 feet wide.
In essence, the council and the ZBA are considering increasing the minimum size of a buildable lot to 30 feet in width, with a minimum side-yard setback of 10 percent of the width of the lot.
In order to do so, the council voted to stop issuing construction or demolition permits for any single-family residences in lots less than 30 feet wide, effective 8 a.m. on June 28.
The freeze comes as a result of the council’s discussions on Jan. 10, 2005 regarding imposing a moratorium on building permits for these single-family homes.
At issue, it seems, is the teardown and construction of new developments on lots of record in which due to the size of the lot, the house would be too close to its neighbor’s house.
“You could have a home built on one of the 25-foot lots and that home is built right up to one of the property lines,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone, adding that a home built in a 25-foot lot next to it could be set at the center of the property, yet an owner could still reach out the window and touch their neighbor’s house.
The problem, explained Village Attorney Michael Durkin, is that, while the current minimum buildable lot in an R1 zone is 50 feet in width and the minimum buildable lot in an R2 zone is 40 feet in width, there was an escape clause built into the system, allowing for the construction of single family residences in certain lots less than 30 feet in width.
“If you had a subdivided lot at the time this requirement was created”March 24, 1958″you could build in a 25-foot lot,” Durkin told the council. “This will change that to require a minimum of a 30-feet-wide lot for construction of a principal structure.”
The loophole that allows for new development in 25-foot-wide lots was created, explained village consultant Jo Ellen Charlton in a memo to the ZBA, because most of the village was likely platted with 25-foot-wide lots before the current 50- to 40-foot-wide requirements were created.
“This exception language was necessary in order to provide protection to those existing homes in neighborhoods that were built with one house on each 25-foot lot,” Charlton said.
The council’s decision on Monday continues to protect these homes, addressing only neighborhoods in which two 25-foot-wide lots were combined and one house built.
However, Charlton continued, “the exception language has been utilized to squeeze in more homes. Homes are either squeezed onto the second 25-foot-wide lot, while the older, larger home is maintained on the first lot; or the original home is torn down and replaced with two smaller homes.”
The ZBA will discuss the issue at their July 18 meeting.