Guest Column: Subdivision changes may violate county code, ask to delay vote

By Paul Gorski

County zoning staff and the state’s attorney’s office need to review the requested changes to the Cannell subdivision in Rockton Township, and the county board should lay over the vote on these changes.

The plat changes and subdivision changes may be inconsistent with county code. Code requires that applications for subdivision variations justify the changes are in the “community interest.” This development has been objected to by local residents and elected officials based on its negative impact on the environment, and the requested changes only aggravate the environmental impacts. No justification in the community interest has been described and needs to be demonstrated before moving forward.

That said, the reduction in lot size and landscaping, and the elimination of the connection to public sanitary sewer, are not allowed for this development. County code specifically states that subdivision variations may not be granted when more restrictive county plans or ordinances regulating the planned space are in effect.

There are plans and ordinances that put more restrictions on this property, and therefore overrule the subdivision variation requests. The county’s 2030 plan recommends significant landscaping and connections to public sewer for all new subdivisions, which these changes violate.

Furthermore, planned community developments (PCDs) are defined to avoid “piecemeal” development, and no uses other than those outlined in the special-use permit are allowed. The special-use permit granted in this case required substantial landscaping, attention to groundwater quality, and adherence to existing subdivision standards without variation, including connection to sanitary sewer. The current requested changes appear to violate these terms and should not be allowed. The petitioner should request changes to the special-use permit to allow these variations.

I am asking the county board to lay over Thursday’s vote on this issue until it can be re-reviewed by Zoning staff and the state’s attorney’s office. Thank you.

Paul Gorski is a resident of Rockford and former Winnebago County Board member in District 5.

From the May 11-17, 2011 issue

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