Originally Posted Online: April 15, 2013, 9:47 pm
Last Updated: April 16, 2013, 12:27 am

Henry County panel opposes Wolf Road zoning change

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By Lisa Hammer, correspondent@qconline.com

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Photo: Gary Krambeck
A posted public hearing notice regarding land along Wolf Road near Geneseo in Hanna Township located next to Rustic Acres addition is the site for a proposed storage facility.

Residents of the Rustic Acres subdivision northwest of Geneseo want it to remain rustic.

Some 120 of them have signed a petition opposing a proposed zoning change that would allow a storage facility to be built along Wolf Road in Hanna Township.

On Monday, the Henry County planning committee agreed with them, voting 8-0 to deny a zoning map change from R-3 residential to B-1 business, saying it would be inconsistent with the county's comprehensive land-use plan.

Specifically, the committee cited the comprehensive plan's three principles that "profit should not be the sole consideration for land use decisions," that the county shall "actively discourage piecemeal and ill-conceived plans for development" and that the county shall "attempt to discourage incompatibility resulting from the proximity of conflicting uses."

The rezoning request was made by Rita O'Dell, who is represented by Chad Schipper of Geneseo. Neither was present at Monday's meeting.

Zoning officer Kyle Stromquist said the number of protests would require a three-fourths vote by the county board to approve the plan.

The proposal now goes to the county's zoning board of appeals, which meets at 7 p.m., before reaching the county board, presumably at its May 9 meeting.

Brent Starkey of Rustic Acres said his home is 120 feet from the proposed site and he has a pole barn less than 30 feet away. He said there are other sites in the county more suitable for such a business.

"This area is residential," Mr. Starkey said. "Wolf Road is one of the busiest roads in Henry County, and the proposed site has very limited egress."

Rustic Acres resident Lyn Paris said the county's comprehensive plan doesn't specifically address the storage business, but he believed the proposal didn't conform to the land usage described in the comprehensive plan. He said "spot zoning" should be avoided.

Wolf Road is heavily residential, with the exception of the Country Store four miles east of the proposed storage facility site and a helicopter pad approximately three miles west.

Al Petsche of Rustic Acres noted Henry County's comprehensive plan discourages piecemeal zoning and guides new development. He said children swim and fish in the lake adjacent to the proposed storage facility.

"It's really a cornerstone of our neighborhood," he said. "We really like the fact we have a quiet, non-business oriented neighborhood," he said.

Although 200 storage units have been discussed as part of the project, committee member Ann DeSmith said the county could not control how many units were put in if the zoning were changed.

"If it were rezoned, it doesn't mean it couldn't be 400," she said. "That's why it doesn't qualify for a special-use permit."