Archive for Thursday, August 20, 2009

Planning Commission to consider ag zoning

August 20, 2009

In the latest twist in the city’s quest to appropriately rezone properties annexed into the city a decade ago, the De Soto Planning Commission will have a public hearing Tuesday on a agricultural zoning classification.

The new zoning classification is the city’s latest approach to finding proper zoning classifications for properties that became part of the city in the large 1999 annexation.

As a stipulation to the annexation the Johnson County Commission approved in 1999, the county’s RUR zoning was maintained on properties annexed into De Soto. It has been a city policy since to require a rezoning to the appropriate city zoning when a property owner with such a zoning makes an application to remodel or add a structure.

Planning commissioners questioned that policy in the summer of 2008, and City Attorney Patrick Reavey has expressed doubt about that the policy’s legality.

In September 2008, city staff received the council’s blessing to develop an agricultural zoning the mimicked the county RUR zoning classification, but council members later backed away from that decision fearing it would encourage more such zoning in De Soto.

With that decision, city planning staff and the planning commission started working on a plan that would allow the 150 landowners affected to request a rezoning for their properties with consideration of the city’s long-term land-use plan.

That approach was criticized in March by property owners attending a Planning Commission public hearing on the issue. That prompted a joint meeting of planning commissioners and council members where it was agreed to attempt to develop an agricultural zoning classification.

De Soto city planner Linda Bohnsack said De Soto’s neighbors with city limits abutting unincorporated areas have agricultural zoning. The proposed draft would require a minimum of 10 acres to qualify for agricultural zoning.

Minimum acreage requirements in other nearby cities vary from 10 acres, which is the threshold in Johnson County, to 40 acres, Bohnsack said.

Restrictions on structures and setbacks in the agricultural zoning would be the same as those in the city’s least restrictive large-lot RO zoning, Bohnsack said.

Should the rezoning get the Planning Commission’s blessing Tuesday and the City Council’s approval early next month, rezoning questions from the 150 properties would then be considered at the Planning Commission’s September meeting, Bohnsack said.

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