Unusual issue appears at Sunbury Planning & Zoning
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
An unusual issue came up at the Monday, September 24, Village of Sunbury Planning & Zoning Commission meeting. Local builder Guy Yinger was in chambers for an informal discussion about building a single-family home with an attached two-car garage at the northwest corner of Rainbow Avenue and Otis Streets.
That part is not so unusual. People build homes on empty lots all the time. The lot (actually three parcels forming one lot platted in 1919) has always been vacant, there has never a house there, and the home Yinger wants to build fits in with the rest of the neighborhood.
What’s unusual about Yinger’s proposed building site is the zoning. All the houses to the west and the lot are on lots zoned commercial C-2, to the east the entire block is zoned residential R-2, all land to the north is vacant village-owned ground.
Sunbury Village Solicitor David Brehm explained that he and village administrator Dave Martin had met with Yinger to discuss the long-standing zoning discrepancy.
“C-2 commercial zoning does not allow residential, but it does allow residential as a conditional use as long as it adheres to R-2 standards,” Brehm said. “He could request a change in zoning, but that’s a lengthy process involving several public hearings. That process doesn’t fit into Mr. Yinger’s schedule.”
Brehm said Yinger’s proposed house plan and how it sits on the site is not inconsistent with what’s in the area, but it does present challenges in addition to the C-2 zoning designation.
The 118-foot by 75-foot lot is 8,850 square feet; R-2 zoning requires a 12,000 square foot lot. Side setbacks meet code, but the front setback, at 38 feet, is two feet shy of code. The garage access from a rear gravel alley would also need an easement confirmation from the neighbor.
Zoning commission members recommended that Yinger apply for a conditional use permit and setback and lot size variance request prior to the 20-day deadline before the next zoning session. Neighbors would be notified, a public hearing could be scheduled, and zoning commission members could act on Yinger’s request at that same meeting.
Yinger was also reminded that even though there are no sidewalks on adjacent properties, the village does have the statutory ability to require sidewalks at a future date.
In other business, zoning commission members Tim Gose and Nathan Coey were selected to serve as the commission’s representatives on the Village of Sunbury Comprehensive Master Plan Steering Committee.
The next meeting of the Village of Sunbury Planning & Zoning Commission will be held at 7:30 p.m., Monday, October 22, in third floor council chambers, Sunbury Town Hall.