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CONTROVERSIAL LAND SPLIT APPROVED

The Brookings Planning Commission on Wednesday approved a minor land division on Holmes Drive despite the objections of neighboring property owners worried about possible erosion.

The motion was approved 4-0, with Commissioner Jim Collis abstaining.

A capacity crowd was on hand for the hearing to divide a 1.27 acre parcel into one 7,752-square-foot lot and a second lot of 47,436 square feet. The property is located on Holmes Drive approximately 320 feet northwesterly of Dawson Road.

Planning Commissioner Jim Collis excused himself because he owns property nearby.

The subject property is zoned single family residential with a 6,000-square-feet minimum lot size.

Applicant for the partition was Lyla Campbell, represented by Rich Roberts.

Nearby property owners Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stanton were unable to attend the hearing, however, they wrote a letter to the planning commission vehemently opposing this division.

We bought the property at 17315 Holmes Drive in April 2000 and were assured that the property in question was indeed zoned for a single dwelling, the Stantons stated.

Since the property in question is almost vertical to the beach we have some legitimate concerns as to the possibility of an erosion factor to our property given the fact that the interruption to the earth for construction would be greater for two dwellings, and slightly less for a single dwelling, the couple stated.

The Stantons said the street access to this property is only 67 feet wide, of which they have deeded access of eight feet running down the south boundary of this parcel to the beach. If this parcel were split into two parcels it would require an access road or drive down the north side to provide access to the parcel located nearest to the beach, the Stantons claimed.

The couple felt doing so would create another flag lot, which is something they thought the planning commissioners try to avoid because it doesnt enhance the value of properties in the area.

The Stantons said possible impacts such as sewer, water, power supply and increased traffic, were unacceptable.

We urge you to reject this request and keep Holmes Drive the beautiful, peaceful place to live that it currently is, the Stantons concluded.

Applicant Lyla Campbell said she and her husband had been looking for a place to retire to and spend their lives together.

The picked this parcel after searching the Internet.

They later decided to split the property in two. We worked with a surveyor and feel that weve done what we need to do. We want to keep this land as intact and beautiful as it is now.

Dixie Evers, owner of the adjacent property at 17316 Holmes Drive, said the property is a hazardous building site because of a steep drop off alongside her house.

There is no problem with erosion now because theres a lot of brush and vegetation growing there, holding the lot into place, Evers said. What recourse would a homeowner have if in building this house the construction disturbs my house?

A court would have to decide whether the damage was caused by the construction, said Brookings Planning Director John Bischoff.

Evers said she could not afford to go to court.

Bischoff said the proposed partition meets the requirements of the R-1-6 zone in terms of lot size and shape.

It is also consistent with Section 112, Rear Lot Development of the Land Development Code, he said.

In the end, Bischoff said the grading plan, erosion plan and drainage plan for the property meet all the requirements of Section 100, including the geological report.

He added that Fire Chief William Sharp has determined that the addition of a turnout on the access road for emergency services is adequate and acceptable for the fire departments needs.

Campbell was asked if she wanted additional time to present evidence before the commission voted on the proposals. She declined.

Commissioner Gyuro expressed concern about disturbing the natural grade of the land before voting yes.

Commissioner Fred Howe said, I dont like flag lots period. However, that doesnt affect the findings.

Secondly, whether or not you partition this property, there will be problems on this land whatever takes place.

Commissioner Rick Dentino said, I have a gnawing feeling that somebody will have to put up with a lot of grief. We look at the criteria, do we meet the criteria? If we meet the criteria I guess we have to approve it.

Commission Chair Ted Freeman said the area lends itself to flag lots. There are a number of them in the area.

He added, Its an engineering challenge, but the criteria have been met.

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