GREEN – A resident’s criticism of a developer on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the handling of his proposed multi-family housing development came under counterattack during a meeting this week.
During the commission’s monthly meeting, Bobwhite Trail resident Brian Stormer raised the issue of objectivity during discussion of a proposed two-building, 32-unit apartment community on the north side of Moore Road, directly west of the Arlington Ridge Marketplace.
Stormer said there is a real question about objectivity concerning a developer being appointed to the PZC. He then called for an independent review of the proposal and its handling by the commission and Planning Department staff members.
PZC Chairman Craig Babbitt took umbrage with Stormer’s accusations, which focused on the commission, the department and Commission member Dwight Yoder, whose proposal was discussed after he recused himself and left the room.
Stormer questioned the need for the project, considering the number of multi-family locations in the city. He also urged the commission to consider the care and quality of the residential neighborhood.
He pointed out what he believed were numerous mistakes by planners concerning the proposal. Planner Tom DiTirro said the proposal met all city regulations.
The commission voted 3-2 for conditional approval of the plan, with members John Beese and Bob Garritano opposed.
Garritano had suggested the possibility of tabling the issue for more study and also voiced concern, like Stormer, about what impact the development would have on Green schools and the community.
The approval included five conditions that must be met:
*Final engineering approval of site improvement plans and storm water calculations.
*Execution of lot consolidation to create a single parcel, which now involves two parcels.
*Applicant statement committing to extend public sidewalk to the west property line to make a connection to future sidewalk in that area.
*Agreement to provide glare shields on ground-mounted flood lights, if needed.
*Provide permission from adjacent property owner to the east for all grading and other work to be conducted on that property.
The complex would consist of a two-story building with 14 units and the other with 18 units, including four lower-level units because of topography.
Access to the site would be via a single two-way driveway on Moore Road, approximately 220 feet east of the proposed Green Village Nursing Home access drive on the south side of Moore Road.
Near the meeting’s end, Babbitt took umbrage with Stormer’s comments that inferred that “the members of this commission or the staff members within the Planning Department improperly brought an item before this body or somehow failed in its duty to properly deliberate these matters.
“I would just say on behalf of everybody whom I’ve come to know personally, you are sworn to uphold and oversee the orderly growth and development of projects in the city, and we take to heart our duty to uphold the law and avoid conflicts of interest or even mere appearance of any impropriety.”
He noted there are many layers of protection for commission members to step aside when their businesses are connected to a proposal to be discussed.
He said in such cases, the matters “have always been handled professionally.”
He also noted that “members don’t discuss these matters with each other in a manner that’s inappropriate.”
By a 4-1 vote with Garritano opposed, the commission approved the preliminary concept plan for a 17-lot subdivision at the end of Stoney Pointe Drive to be known as The Sanctuary at Stoney Creek.
Approval is contingent upon the granting of a variance by the Board of Zoning Appeals since the 9.75-acre site doesn’t meet the 10-acre minimum.