Baxter Estates changes zoning law, ends moratorium

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Baxter Estates changes zoning law, ends moratorium
The Baxter Estates trustees approved a law amendment allowing for appropriate residential development within the village's Business A Zoning District and lifting the village's building moratorium. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Baxter Estates trustees approved a law amendment that will allow for appropriate residential development within the village’s Business A Zoning District and lift its building moratorium Wednesday.

The amendment will require special-exception permits as well as a site plan and façade review process for specific parcel development and uses within the district.

Baxter Estates’s trustees imposed the district-wide building pause in 2021 and later extended it to the end of 2022 in June. They wanted to consider how land could be appropriately developed for multi-residential use. Mayor Nora Haagenson also said the laws were outdated.

“For example, in the old code, when you talked about parking, the driveway is very narrow [because of] these old buildings,” Haagenson said. “It was just to make things a little more equitable and update the code to make it a little more relevant to what’s going on today.”

A land use and planning consultant, Nelson Pope Voorhis, assisted the village in its review.

Village Attorney Christopher Prior explained the then-potential amendment’s intention in June. He said there had been some informal proposals to modify some buildings on Main Street.

“The building inspector looked at our code and said there are certain provisions that are antiquated and don’t make a lot of sense,” he said. “The thrust of the ‌proposals had been to go more to residential and the board and the building inspector wanted to make sure that the code makes sense in that context.”

Because of current setbacks and parking restrictions, almost any development or alteration in the district that involves a change in building footprint now requires a zoning variance. (Most existing structures are pre-existing and non-conforming, per the law’s legal notice.)

Amending certain zoning area restrictions will reduce the need for zoning variances where they are not required, the board found. This is considering other appropriate development controls.

The law will go into effect once the village files it with the state.

 

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