Zone change proposal in Lancaster opposed

October 22, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - A plan to rezone the area behind the McDonald's restaurant in Lancaster was met with much opposition Tuesday night at City Hall. A standing-room-only crowd of about 60 listened as David Land outlined his proposal for a 50-lot development if he is granted a zone change from agricultural to R-3. All of those who spoke up were against the change, despite restrictions Land said the area will face.

Land is proposing 75- by 105-foot lots in the area bordered by Hagan Court, Lexington Street and Pin Oak for houses he said will be designed for retired people. The area is currently owned by McDonald's, but Land said he and several partners have an option to buy it.

Land said the homeowners targeted in his concept will want smaller yards that do not require much yard work. Houses would be a minimum of 1,100 square feet and cost in the range of $125,000. Lots would cost $16,000, he said.


"It's not geared toward people with children," he said.

Land wants the area rezoned R-3 because of the requirement for smaller lot sizes that fit his concept of homes designed for the older demographic homeowner. Restrictions should keep developers from building duplexes or other forms of multi-family dwellings, he said.

"David, what if someone wanted to come in there and bought two or three lots and wanted to build (apartments)?" a man in the audience asked.

"They would find themselves in a civil suit," Land replied.

"After it was built, then you're gonna sue," another person spoke out. Someone else said she could not afford to sue, and others later in the meeting said many restrictions in the city were not followed.

"Lancaster's never enforced anything," a woman exclaimed.

Several said they fear the development will cause their property values to depreciate.

"My biggest concern is the crime rate," Sherry Schwarz said. "I have nothing against retired people. But we have no hospital here, no public transportation. You can't guarantee what kinds of homes (will be constructed.)"

Several have no objection to R-1 zone

Several others said they would be more comfortable with an R-1 development which would allow only single family dwellings on a lot required to be at least 12,000 square feet. Land's proposal for the R-3 development has a minimum lot size of 7,500 square feet.

"I would be glad to go with an R-1, if we could go with smaller lots," Land said. "Lancaster zoning laws do not allow it."

"I fear government type funded projects (will be constructed)," Julie Gibson said. Gibson, who along with Schwarz collected 146 names on a petition handed to planning and zoning board members, said she fears such housing will lead to more drug problems.

Land said that he doubts there will be multi-family dwellings constructed in the development.

"Nobody's going to put in a bunch of apartments," he said.

Walt Browning said he's concerned that larger families will buy lots and build smaller homes that will in turn cause property values to decrease.

"Well said," a woman yelled out as many in the audience gave Browning a round of applause.

Land said he is idealistic and doesn't have a pessimistic view of what Lancaster can accomplish.

"I have a vision for Lancaster that will bring it up and keep it alive," he said.

Wayne Smiley presented the zoning board with the petition of 146 people opposed to the zone change. "Multi-families will come if R-3 is approved," he said. "You can talk all you want to about restrictions. Clearly you can see where people go outside of those restrictions and nothing happens."

"Amen," someone said.

No action was taken on the zone change request. Planning and Zoning board chairman Tim Nunemaker asked Land to present a written request for the change at their next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 10.

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