By Maggie Kenworthy
WARSAW — During the Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals meeting held tonight, July 26, the board denied two variance requests related to the proposed Greenbrier subdivision in Warsaw.
The proposed Greenbrier subdivision consists of 136 lots and will be located on CR 350N, east of Airport Road. Jeff Thomas was the petitioner requesting both of the variances.
The first variance is to permit 5-foot side yard setbacks in an R-1 district instead of the 7-foot side yard setbacks currently required. This would apply to all of the lots, except for corner lots and those impacted by easements.
The second variance is to remove the setback requirements for side yards on the lots numbered 77 through 136. This would allow single-family attached units to adjoin and have a shared wall. These homes would be referred to as attached villas. The variance also requests to eliminate the minimum lot size requirements for these lots.
Attorney Steve Snyder, representing adjacent property owners Tony and Mary Nicholas, argued against the requests.
“This is essentially an R-2 standard attempting to be applied to an R-1 District,” said Snyder. “CR 350N, we are all familiar enough with that to know that it’s a heavy traffic area … they’re going to be competing with the heavy traffic that’s already there, school buses, and a significant amount of construction vehicles for the first several years of development.”
Snyder said the developers had no hardship to qualify for the variances, which is a requirement that the board must find before approving any variances.
“This is bare land, you can design around bare land very easily,” said Snyder. “There’s no hardship that I can see except the developed wants to place more lots with higher density so that there’s a higher value.”
Ten other neighbors of the proposed subdivision were also present to oppose the request. They individually brought up concerns regarding traffic, the size of the lots and decreasing property values. Multiple people used the phrase “sardine-packed homes” when referring to the lots with attached villas.
Thomas gave a rebuttal to the neighbor’s concerns. He explained that going from seven to five-foot setbacks doesn’t affect the layout or access of the lots. Because of this, he said that the variance would not have an impact on the traffic levels, but that traffic would be studied when the plat goes before plan commission.
Regarding decreasing property values, Thomas said that the starter homes in the subdivision will be priced around $250,000 and the attached villas will start at about $270,000 per side. He stated that the average sale price in the Dells subdivision is around $280,000.
The board first voted unanimously to deny the variance to decrease the setbacks from seven to five feet.
“With all the comments from the community, the citizens, honestly I can’t approve this based on what has been said because I do think that their points are valid — there is no hardship,” said Board Member Jeff Johnson.
The board also voted to unanimously deny the second variance request regarding the attached villas. Board members stated that they saw the same concerns with this request as the first variance request.