Despite a large number of area residents protesting a proposed housing development just north of the Abilene city limits, Dickinson County Commission approved 3-0 of changing the zoning from agricultural to suburban residential at its regular meeting Thursday.
It was the next step in a five-lot residential development being proposed by Jim Krueger.
Originally drawn up as a 21-lot plat, Krueger said phase two has been discontinued and only the five lots are now being pursued.
Commissioners only approved the zoning reclassification of the land and will review the five-lot plat at the next meeting July 18.
“I have a difficult time depriving an individual of a piece of property he owns and controlling it, something he worked hard to have or purchase, now we are going to make decisions for that individual,” said Commissioner Ron Roller. “I’m not asking a land owner to pull out, that he can’t do anything with his land. I hope we can be neighbors because rural living is about neighbors and not about the ‘I’ word and I have heard a lot of that. It’s about we. We are a community.”
Roller said he has not seen a development ruin a community.
Zoning Administrator Tim Hamilton said the zoning change and a preliminary five-lot plat was approved by the Dickinson County Planning Commission.
A final plat was not available and the request was only for a zoning change, still most of the discussion at Thursday’s meeting centered around the proposed housing development.
The general location is just north of the northeast corner of the Abilene city limits, west of Hawk Road and east of the housing development on north Haven Drive.
“A protest petition was submitted, and it is determined that it does contain signatures of more than 20 percent of the residents within the notification area of this case,” he said, adding that requires a unanimous vote to approve the rezoning.
At least 15 area residents showed up at the commission meeting to request voting down the zoning change.
The planning commission placed a condition of public water supply be available, Hamilton said. Krueger said Rural Water District No. 1 sent a confirmation letter. Kaw Valley also did a water runoff evaluation.
County Engineer John Gaugh said the process of a subdivision usually takes several months and is done in phases: rezoning, preliminary plat, final plat and construction.
“The reason for that is so that the developer has a chance to see that it is approved and then he is ready to spend money on the next issue,” Gaugh said. “In this case, the attempt was to put this thing all together because it is so small.”
“Beware if I don’t like it (final plat), I will say no,” said Commissioner Craig Chamberlin.
Krueger, who with wife Peggy live in the 100 block of 2500 Avenue, apologized to the neighbors.
“We have people come to us wanting to buy some lots so we thought we would plat off five acres,” he said.
He said there is a covenant which restricts the usage of the land for things that would be a nuisance. The covenant allows two 4-H animals on the lots.
The 5 lots are each 4 acres in size, he said.
“We’ve tried to do what was right. We could have just sold off some acreage to begin with because you are allowed to sell acreage and be done with,” he said.
“I know you all moved out into the country to get away from other people. Well, we’re just trying to allow that for a few more people,” he said. “I am sorry we even considered doing phase two (21 lots) because that is what got all of you here.”
Several people talked about the road conditions, usage and safety.
Because 2500 Avenue sits on the Grant and Buckeye township border, 2500 Avenue is maintained by Buckeye Township, said Kenny Bourbina.
The city maintains 2400 Avenue, often referred to as Rollercoaster Road.
John Barbur said Hawk Road, where he lives, has deep ditches and steep slopes.
“Even with a few people, although I think quite a few people drive up and down that road, there has been a tremendous amount of people that I have seen and heard about who have gone into those ditches and have had some serious accidents. When you add more people, there is a multiplication factor. It’s not just those people. It’s their friends and families coming out.”
He said the road needs to be improved.
Carol Whitehair said the roads in the area are agriculture roads used by farmers, elevator employees and semitrailers and are dangerous.
“It’s not even a road you can walk on at night,” she said of 2500 Avenue. “We are part of the problem. We have semis coming and going. Farm tractors are coming and going.”
Debbie Barbur said 2400 Avenue is used for people and solid waste vehicles going to the transfer station.
“When you live in the country, you expect that stuff,” she said. “Those people are going to expect a roadgrader when it snows. That isn’t going to happen. You are on your own.”
Quality of life
“It looks like this is a neighbor versus neighbor issue, but it is not,” said Debbie Barbur. “It’s a quality of life issue.”
Five homes in that area double the number of homes on Hawk Road.
“That also doubles the use of that area with an already stressed infrastructure,” she said. “We moved there for a certain quality of life years ago. We really enjoy the space and the farm ground. I know it is tempting to increase the tax base out there but in the end I think you lose more than you gain. We see the city continue to struggle because of their hasty development decisions. I would hate to see us in the same place.”
Sandy Rein said she was concerned about the 4-H livestock which could cause an odor issue or draw in more flies.
“We just don’t know. Some people could be really good about cleaning up,” she said.
Krueger said the area was the least productive area of the farm.
Donald Davis said he objected to taking farmland out of production.
“One of my pet peeves has been taking farm ground and putting it into stick homes,” he said. “Yeah, it’s only 100 acres or 20 acres for that matter, but it all adds up. We are taking that land out of production.”
Davis said there are other housing developments around that have lots available.
“I personally don’t see a large influx of business. As a matter of fact, if we look in town, more businesses have closed. I don’t believe we need another housing development whether it’s on poor agriculture ground or not. I don’t believe it is that poor of ground, first of all. There are areas out there that are hilly, rocky or whatever they can build homes on. We don’t need to take agriculture ground.”
Contact Tim Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org.