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Salem planners OK housing subdivision plats

SALEM — The city Planning Commission approved the preliminary/final plat for a subdivision being developed along Painter Road by Don Santee, but not without questions about the lots and suggestions for deed restrictions.

Santee said he was willing to put deed restrictions in writing requiring garage doors at the rear or side of a lot, hard surface driveways, no cement block showing, no trailers, campers or boats in the front and no car ports.

But he drew the line at specifying the size of a home on a lot, saying it’s not fair to expect him to do that as a deed restriction for lot buyers when it’s not in the city requirements.

“Don wants to do a nice development here. I don’t think anyone’s going to be disappointed with what he’s going to put forward,” engineer Jon Vollnogle of Howells & Baird said.

Vollnogle attended the Zoom meeting to represent Santee and called him during the meeting to ask about any deed restrictions after some commission members and local resident Bruce Williams started asking specific questions and recommended what should be required of lot owners in keeping with the neighborhood. The 11 lots will front Painter Road and be located across from Scarboro Lane.

Vollnogle placed Santee on speaker phone, but it was hard to hear what he was saying, so Vollnogle relayed his comments.

Plans call for lots one through eight to be 17,000 square feet total (100 feet wide), with lots nine, 10 and 11 increasing in square footage along the curve of the road. Lot nine was 21,907 square feet, lot 10 was 27,093 square feet and lot 11 was 33,383 square feet, but included a 30-foot utility easement along the one side, making it a narrow lot. The street and necessary utilities already exist and plans call for stormwater management to be by individual lot detention systems installed by each lot owner at the time of construction.

Williams questioned the size of the lots and noted they’re smaller than the lots in the neighborhood and expressed a concern that they’re gonna end up with trailers and boats parked in front yards. He questioned how much the lots will cost buyers, whether garages will be front facing and even whether the zoning had changed at all.

“I don’t think we’re talking about an inexpensive home here. Everything Don has presented meets the zoning,” Vollnogle said, adding he’s not asking for any variance from what RS-1 allows.

Commission member Barb Loudon also asked about any deed restrictions, which prompted Vollnogle to place the call to Santee after some prompting by Mayor John Berlin, also a member of the commission by virtue of his position. Vollnogle said it was reasonable for the garages to face forward.

“So you’re proposing squeezing as many lots as possible into a nicer neighborhood,” Williams said.

Vollnogle repeated that the plans are in compliance with current zoning and that Mr. Santee isn’t responsible for the zoning. He’s complying with what RS-1 requires.

Loudon also asked about the plans for individual detention systems and whether there will be a problem if there’s a lot sold and house built with no houses on either side. Vollnogle said the lots are not inter-dependent on each other for the drainage system to work.

Williams made a comment about doing what’s right for the community and asked for the decision to be delayed to another meeting so more research could be done.

Commission Chairman John Panezott said zoning can’t just be changed and he saw nothing wrong with what Santee had planned.

Once Santee was on the phone, Vollnogle relayed that he was willing to put in deed restrictions regarding the garage doors facing rear or side and not allowing seasonal vehicles to be parked out front. He said the lots alone will be priced at $40,000 and up and the houses will be higher-end homes. He wants to build in Salem and the plans meet the zoning and also commented that lots are needed in town.

As more items were suggested for deed restrictions, Panezott said that Santee has gone above what he needed to do and questioned where they want to draw the line. Loudon commended Santee for doing the deed restrictions.

Berlin then asked if the home designs will vary or whether each will be standard design. Vollnogle said it will be the buyer’s choice on the style of house they want. When a motion was made for the vote, the mayor asked that it be subject to the deed restrictions, with city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst asking if it’s within the commission’s realm to do anything with deed restrictions.

Vollnogle said Santee was willing to do the discussed deed restrictions, with the exception of the size of the homes.

The vote was 5-0 to approve the plat.

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