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by Mark Cheffey
The Marion County Planning & Zoning Commission tabled action on a rezoning request involving a proposed 11-lot, 38 acre residential subdivision northeast of Palmyra to allow the developer time to provide more detailed plans.
Urban and Lindsey Wiskirchen are asking the property along Mo. 168 east of Palmyra be rezoned from agriculture to rural residential in order to develop the subdivision.
However neighbors and commission members alike raised issues with several aspects of the project. And, rather than make a recommendation to the county commissioners for or against the rezoning during its second hearing held at the Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra, the zoning commissioners present voted 4-0 to table it until at least Jan. 26.
“It’s not that we’re against the subdivision. We just want to have it designed right,” said John David Bier, a zoning commission member.
The Wiskirchens presented a map of the property showing possible lot lines as well as a possible pond, but there were questions raised about a number of issues including the pond dam, highway access and whether the soil could support septic sewer systems.
While the Wiskirchens expressed assurances everything would be done to make sure those questions were answered, the zoning commissioners wanted to have it all included in the plan before they recommended approval.
“I want to see it,” said Andrew Lehenbauer, one of the zoning commissioners most urgent about having a more detailed plan to consider.
Lehenbauer emphasized to the Wiskerchens that, he for one, felt it was the zoning commission’s responsibility to make sure the project would be done correctly.
Urban Wiskirchen said answering the concerns would take time and delay efforts to start development, he did agree to tabling it in order to clear up the issues.
“I understand your viewpoint, for sure,” Wiskirchen said.
Brent Meyer, a neighbor to the property listed off a number of concerns he had about the proposed subdivision, including whether the soil would support septic systems, if the pond would hold water, and where the lots were large enough with the pond to allow room enough for houses with the proper setback allowances.
He also expressed worry that, if the rezoning is approved before all the questions are answered, the lots could start selling before all the buyers become aware of any unresolved issues.
“I’m not against you. I just think there are things that need to be answered first,” Meyers said.
Other issues discussed by the zoning commissioners included the design of the pond and the integrity of the dam and the overflow structures.
“I really think it needs to be engineered,” said Dick Rupp, a zoning commission member.
Since the first hearing, the Wiskirchens did make some suggested additions to the proposed subdivision covenants as requested by neighbors including setting a minimum house size of 1,500 square feet.
Prior to the vote, the Wiskirchen’s considered a request for them to cut down the amount of property to be rezoned at this time to exclude the pond, and discussed such a proposal. But in the end they chose to continue with the original acreage.
After the commissioners voted to table the issue, Meyers offered to look at some of the issues with the Wiskirchens to see what could be done to resolve them, and the couple welcomed it.
Before adjourning, the zoning commissioners discussed the need for developing rules for large solar energy collection systems in response to numerous landowners in the county being approached about such projects.