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Victor Impact Area expansion; revisions to city code

Tuesday’s meeting was an informal work session; only two P&Z commissioners could make it, but they were joined by county planning and zoning administrator Kurt Hibbert.  In attendance from the public were approximately eight county residents who were concerned about the impact area expansion encroaching on their farms south of Victor.  The commission opened up a conversation and concerns were heard and discussed.

Impact Area expansion
A group of county residents who farm South of Victor visited to express their concern about being absorbed by the proposed expanded impact area.  They said they were quite happy as county residents and were concerned that the expansion would force them one step closer towards annexation into the city.  Worried about higher taxes and another layer of bureaucracy, they asked that the boundary of the impact area be drawn to exclude them.  P&Z chair Mike O’Neill explained the rationale behind the expansion as three main goals: 1) it will promote economic development by offering a greater area for business development; 2) it’s an issue of social responsibility—staying well ahead of growth is critical; and 3) the city can help with environmental mitigation if it has a say in development surrounding the city limits.  One of the county residents summed up their stance well: “There’s some serious farmers that want to stay farmers.  Every effort should be made to keep that land farming.”  The county residents’ concerns were acknowledged and respected, and the P&Z commissioners present said they’d consider leaving that land out of the impact area.

VARD recognizes that this is a difficult matter.  On one hand, by leaving that land out of the impact area, it will stay under one simple county jurisdiction rather than two.  Also, impact areas are defined as regions into which a city is expected to expand in the next five to ten years.  If that’s the case, then this farmed land ought to be excluded because the city and the property owners all want to see it continue on as farmland.  On the other hand, many of the farmers stated their desire to maintain their 2.5 acre zoning, in order to retain their option to subdivide at that density in the future.  Furthermore, if the edge of the impact area abuts their land, they will be squarely enclosed in the Urban Service ring and the Urban Reserve ring, allowing far greater densities than is appropriate for an agricultural use.  Perhaps if farming really is their goal, inclusion in a Trans-agricultural zone within the impact area, allowing 10-20 acre parcels (the specifics haven’t been decided yet), will ensure appropriate density and protection from urban fringe density allowed by the county rings.

Revisions to city code
Kurt Hibbert, the county planning and zoning administrator, presented some amendments he has been working on in the PUD ordinance.  Nothing has been finalized yet, and Mr. Hibbert will report back when his work on the Victor planning code is concluded.

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