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Hobart board halts rezoning request

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – The Hobart village board denied a rezoning request at its Tuesday, June 18, meeting, essentially putting the brakes on a proposed residential development.

Prior to the vote, the board held a public hearing that lasted an hour when residents voiced concerns that were ultimately echoed by village trustees.

The rezoning request was for a proposed subdivision to be called Milton Hills. In order to build, it the needed to be rezoned from R2 residential to R1 to allow for more lots.

The proposed development, to have been located in the 600-700 block of Trout Creek Road, called for 63 residential lots and eight condominium lots on 57.65 acres.

“I wish the board would really put their minds to this and think about the public living close by,” said nearby resident Dave Clark.

Some concerns the public brought up were related to traffic counts, emergency response vehicles, and most notably retaining the rural feel of the neighborhood.

R2 zoning calls for larger lots than R1, which is why the developer, Bostad Builders (Tom Juza) requested the change to account for more homes in a smaller location than allowed with the current zoning restrictions.

“We did create the largest lots we could to try to make the purchase price and the cost to develop it realistic, because it will all come down to the numbers,” Juza said.

He said larger lots would not make the development fiscally realistic.

But neighbors in attendance were adamant that smaller lots do not belong in that neighborhood, and larger lots are still desirable.

“I do believe that as development keeps spreading, there will always be a market for people who are looking for homes with a little more land around them,” said Donna Severson. “I feel like at some point that’ll be prime real estate and there will be very little of it left.”

When the hearing closed, Village President Rich Heidel agreed with residents’ concerns.

“I’m of the opinion that his rezoning is totally out of conformance with the atmosphere and the environment and the general flavor of the area in that part of Hobart,” Heidel said. “The density, the lot sizes, in other words the R1 zoning district, in my view, is problematic. It’s not only that way out of aesthetics, but as has been alluded to this evening, there could be a cost of other issues that rise and present themselves.”

The motion to deny the rezoning request passed unanimously. Trustee Tim Carpenter was absent.

Thomas Van Horn, the attorney representing Mary Martinson, the listed land owner, said the debated property will not remain empty lots for long into the future.

“This property isn’t going to stay the same, that I will guarantee you,” Van Horn said. “She (Martinson) has to have the income from this property in order to live.”

In other land related news, the board allowed the village to divide 9.2 acres it owns by Centennial Centre into four lots.

The board also allowed a 3.5-acre parcel at 1810 Rverdale Drive to be divided into two lots. The request was made by Ehren and Jody Graf.

The board also voted to purchase six electronic poll books and upgrade two voting machines at a cost of $12,300 to be paid from the general fund.

Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said the move will save the village $4,000 per year due to less staff time and fewer election workers.

Kramer said it also should alleviate voter congestion issues on Election Day.

Finally, the village board discussed operational costs and opportunities for roadside leaf pickup in Hobart.

The Public Works Committee met three times on the issue.

“This is not a service we’re looking to provide due to budgetary restraints, and secondarily, where are we going to put the leaves once we collect them?” Kramer said.

Board members said they welcome any waste disposal or collection services interested in picking up individual resident’s leaves to contact the village hall.

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