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Erbary subdivision clears public hearing

Dec. 20, 2013

Although no residents showed up to question the plans for a new subdivision, Erbary Place on Gatepost Road, aldermen did bring up concerns about density during a public hearing regarding changing zoning on the property to allow Kaerek Homes to build seven houses there.

Under the proposal, the subdivision would be more dense than traditionally allowed, with houses being at least 30 feet from the roads, instead of the usual 50, and able to have smaller lots that are closer together. Director of Community Development Dan Ertl said the exceptions were needed in order to fit the subdivision in the "geometry of the property."

But aldermen Chris Blackburn and Renee Lowerr wondered if the number of houses could be reduced to six in order to space them out more.

Aaron Koch with Pinnacle Engineering said it wouldn't be financially viable to build fewer homes.

"We've looked at that, but since the infrastructure was already built, we need to do seven lots in order to pay for the investment on the property," he said.

Two residents also had concerns, sent by letter to the city, about construction traffic and whether fences, accessory buildings and pets would be allowed.

Ertl said the property, if the rezoning succeeds, would have to follow the same rules as other subdivisions in the city, which are allowed decorative and 20-foot-long privacy fences, some accessory buildings and household pets.

Koch said there aren't any accessory buildings, such as sheds, planned for the property. Construction traffic is to use Egan Road, but may also use Davidson Road if possible.

The Erbary site already has a cul de sac in place, a relic of a string of failed condominium plans for the property. Since 2006, Miller Homes, Davidson Development Corp. and Riversview Development all took shots at building condominiums on the property.

Kaerek Homes, which purchased the land from WaterStone Bank, is asking the city to change the development plan to allow it to build single-family homes rather than condominiums.

"Through the recession and the way financing works now for lending of homes of this type, it's very difficult to get the financing for single-family detached condominiums," Koch said. "That's one of the reasons there's been nothing going on there since that cul de sac has gone in."

The change must be approved by Plan Commission and Common Council.

Jan Francki, executive vice president of Kaerek Homes, has said the company would like to start construction as soon as its plans are approved.

Next Step

WHAT: Review of zoning change for Erbary Place

WHO: Plan Commission

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 13

WHERE: City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road

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