Culver Garden Court – Rezoning

The Plan Commission met on its regular third Tuesday night last month.  Rezoning the newly annexed properties on the south side of Culver was on the agenda.  Unfortunately, they did not have a quorum.  The meeting was rescheduled for the following Monday (Monday of last week) and the hearing was held then. I was unable to attend the hearing as I had a scheduling conflict.  I sent a letter of support (see it here) and I understand the rezoning was passed without remonstration.
I was a little surprised that the Plan Commission did not follow the Comprehensive Plan recommendations which I would have interpreted to suggest this area should have been zoned R-2.  The Plan Commission did zone the northern third, which included the McGee Property and the newly subdivided Garden Court Parcel to R-2 as per the agreement with Mr. McGee, but the remaining 2/3rds were zoned R-1.  My letter cited various references in the Comp Plan, but my source on the Plan Commission said that the property owners in that section preferred R-1.
Unfortunately, I think this may have been a lack of understanding or foresight on their part.  The basic difference between the two zonings is the density requirements and the allowance for multi-family development under R-2.  There is very little that can be done under R-1 that can’t be done under R-2.  (See the Use Matrix in the Zoning Ordinance here).
A continuing theme in the Comp Plan is affordable housing.  The Comp Plan is extremely dated as it was completed over 10 years ago and the housing issue has not been corrected in the past decade.  Allowing higher densities in housing is one way that housing can be made more affordable.  Higher densities are also a goal of the green movement as it promotes more efficient use of land and infrastructure.
In any case, I’m pleased to see that the Plan Commission has taken the steps to upgrade the zoning in this area and plan for future development. The Town Council has taken steps to extend water and sewer to the northern third of this area.  That project will be underway this Spring and was necessary for the construction of the Culver Garden Court.  I think this is a positive step for the area and may be the first step towards seeing additional housing starts in Culver.

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