Feb. 22—A group of Mitchell property owners' request to rezone a section of lots in the Island development along the west side of Lake Mitchell was denied by the city Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday, as the board deemed it "spot zoning."
The application sought to rezone a handful of lots in the Island development along Lake Mitchell to a single-family residential district, switching it from the current Urban Development zoning district. As part of the request, the existing homes that are in the Island development would remain in the Urban Development zoning district, while the lots that aren't developed would switch to an R1 single-family residential district. JTZ Properties, Groeneweg Construction and Maui Farms were the entities seeking to rezone the lots, which would allow for larger homes to be built.
Chuck Mauszycki Jr., a local real estate agent and developer, spoke on behalf of the Island developer, Chuck Mauszycki Sr., and the property owners who submitted the rezoning application. He said the zoning change would allow for future homeowners to build "bigger and better" houses in the Island development, located across the street from the West End bridge.
"We've noticed a lot of buyers and builders wishing to build bigger homes. Twenty years ago, I don't think we knew we would have sewer and water and that we'd be in the city," Chuck Mauszycki Jr. said. "Our request is just to build bigger and better homes rather than the other."
Considering the Island development is zoned as an Urban Development district, Planning Commission member Kevin Genzlinger, said that rezoning the lots to a single-family residential district would be considered spot zoning, which occurs when an area of land is zoned differently than neighboring and surrounding nearby properties. In most instances, spot zoning is frowned upon and can create issues with the surrounding properties.
"There are a handful of lots here that aren't circled, so they would be left in a UD (Urban Development). We say it's not spot zoning, but it sure looks like it," said Planning Commission member Kevin Genzlinger. "I wouldn't want to do that either, so I'd rather have it all be one zoning district."
Prior to Genzlinger addressing his concerns of spot zoning, John Hegg, the city's building inspector, suggested the application to rezone the lots be changed to rezone the entire Island development into a single-family Residential district.
"If you're going to change the zoning, why not make it all R1 (single-family residential zoning district) ... Doing a mixed-zoning in an area like that makes it tricky to write a building permit, and I got stung the other day on it," Hegg said. "If it is all R1, then you don't have to worry about where the lines are with a jigsaw puzzle every time you write a building permit."
Following Hegg's suggestion, Chuck Mauszycki Jr. did not express opposition to rezoning the entire development into a single-family residential district. For that to happen, the application must be resubmitted requesting to rezone the entire development as single-family residential, which would be voted on by the Planning Commission and Mitchell City Council at a later date, pending the application submission.
When the Island development began roughly 20 years ago, the area wasn't in city limits. But after the development took off and became a highly sought after area for residential homes, it was moved into city limits.
"Our wish is to have an R1 (Single-family residential) zone just like all the great neighborhoods in town to allow bigger and better, higher-taxable value homes," Chuck Mauszycki Jr. said. "So I think we have a lot of reasons to rezone."
The Planning Commission unanimously denied the rezoning request in a 7-0 vote. However, the city's documents showed there were two letters approving the rezoning change, while one letter disapproved.
Richard Rozum, a resident residing in the Island development, wrote the rezoning of the lots will "help make it easier to fit nice homes" on the lots that are requested to be rezoned. He added in his letter that "the lots in the center of the Island are smaller lots," which is why he noted the rezoning would make it easier for larger homes.
Jeff Bathke, a resident residing in the Island development, outlined the reasons for his disapproval of the rezoning change. In Bathke's letter, he wrote, "The rezoning would provide unjustified special treatment that benefits the applicant, while undermining the pre-existing rights and uses of adjacent property owners." Bathke also alleged the rezoning request was for the "sole purpose of decreasing setbacks," and cited the change would allow for spot zoning.