Forest Hills Planning Board 2-19-01

Village of Forest Hills Planning Board meeting


Date: February 19, 2001


Members Present:


Chairman Larry Kolenbrander

Anne Chambers

Jim Davis

Dick Iobst

Sally James

Ian Pritchard

Joe Rossano

Jim Wallace


The meeting of the Forest Hills Planning Board, held at the University Inn in Forest Hills on February 19, 2001, was called to order by Chairman Larry Kolenbrander at 7:00 p.m.


(1)  The minutes of the January 15, 2001 meeting were read and approved.


(2)  Chairman Kolenbrander said that this meeting would be devoted to what kinds of things we would like to see as the future development of the Village. Ian Pritchard passed out documents such as subdivision ordinances and zoning ordinances.  Ian recapped the steps that were taken to prepare the proposed changes to the Village Zoning Ordinance.  He identified the steps we had taken to date.  We are looking at proposed changes to an existing subdivision ordinance.  We are engaged in a strategic planning role.  We are moving to multistage reviews, all of which will lead to what is expected of sub-dividers.  There has been a good deal of discussion on cluster development.  This would include utilities, buffer areas, and accessibility of open space dedications.  Geoff Willett [not present] said the zoning ordinances will have to be brought in sync with the zoning ordinances.  This includes densities, ownership, population stabilities, upscale homes in the community, and other things of this nature.  Our committee [the special committee dealing with this matter chaired by Ian Pritchard] has not met since that date.  Geoff said he would try to come up with some pictures of different types of cluster developments.  Those things which deal with the subdivision ordinance should be our priorities for discussion.  What is expected of sub-dividers has not been clear in the existing zoning ordinance.  It should be clear.  We must raise the whole issue of clustering and population density.  We also should discuss green space.  We should make other revisions.  We have been looking at ways to smooth the review process so that the sub-divider would not have to change his plans after he has begun the planning process.  There was some discussion over what should be done to make everything more appealing to potential developers.


Jim Wallace raised the issue of what would happen in the settlement of the estate of someone who owns property in the Village.  A lot of families would prefer to divide their property among their children before they die. He said that, in other words you want to be able to divide your property four

ways if you have four children.  Ian Pritchard said that there was some provision in the State law for this.


Jim Wallace believed that this would apply to so few individuals that he  would like to see it spelled out more exactly.  More discussion between Jim and Ian followed.  Jim believed we should follow existing State laws.  Ian said we should exempt them from the existing ordinance.  He said this would apply only to major property holdings.  Jim said there would be few things in this matter that applied to the Valley.  There was more discussion.  Dick Iobst made some pertinent points regarding this matter.  Jim Davis said this would not supersede existing ordinance laws.  Ian said this is just another

topic that has come up.


Larry Kolenbrander said that Geoff Willett would come back here in March with photographs of examples of some of the things we would like to see.  He explained that Geoff would return with the kinds of things that we are talking about.  If Geoff gets the idea of what we want he can write a regulation that allows us to move in the direction.


Jim Wallace asked if we could get a big community turnout for such a slide show?  What I would hate to see, he said, is putting all these man-hours into this and they would not like it.  Larry believed that next month is not the time to do so because we as a Planning Board don't know what we want.  However, we will come to a point where we need to involve the whole community.  We need to get a range of options- but we have not reached that point.


Sally James said that she and Anne Chambers feel that way too.  What has happened to the annual letter that was sent out?  How many people are getting the E-Mail.  At least an annual letter should be sent out so that people would know what we are going to do.  Ian said that those items on the list that are the most controversial are those dealing with the altering of the village zoning ordinance.  Sally said that she thought that the 2-acre lots were put into the zoning ordinance to discourage developers from coming in.  That is what most of the people who moved here to live came for- they thought the Valley should be kept free of development.


Dick Iobst said that everybody feels that way.  All of the people he has spoken to are strongly opposed to developing the Valley.  Ian said we may not change it- don't know.  The Village is vulnerable.  Much discussion followed.  There is an opportunity  to protect the Village.


The discussion continued in this manner for some time.  The major points discussed were cluster housing, green space, population density, the condition of the watershed of Andy Bryson Branch, road construction, sewer construction, and, especially, strengthening the existing zoning ordinance.


Larry Kolenbrander said we are just operating as a think tank.  We must consider property boundaries, architects' plans, the location of houses on the lots, etc.  He mentioned, later in the discussion, that if a developer comes in and builds 32 houses on two-acre lots and makes a profit why should you consider any other option?  He said how about we cluster things?  You donate a park and a green way to the Village in exchange for letting you build 45 units.  The incentive to the developer is that he could sell 45 instead of 32 units.  I think, he said, that would work.  I don't know if we would be willing to do that or not, but if we end up with ownership or control of the green way as a tradeoff it is something we should consider.  Additional discussion followed.


Jim Wallace discussed the situation concerning North and South Country Club Drives.  He wondered if North Country Club Drive has been sent to the DOT yet?  Larry Kolenbrander responded that Mayor Irene Hooper has tried to get an answer from the County Commissioners, but has not received one yet.


A motion to adjourn was entertained by the Chair.  The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by


Richard W. Iobst