On March 10 at the village council workshop, staff will forward new language and changes to Section 20 of the municipal code that will effectively end the practice of “flag lots” in Downers Grove.
Flag lots are usually permitted in rural and developing municipalities to allow development of back-land areas while still maintaining their rural character. We have long since passed that point, and flag lots have created the unusual presence of homes seemingly in other peoples back yards. While the flag house usually faces the rear of the house in front of them, they also impinge upon the backyards of homes to either side, and these are usually the residents who show up at Plan Commission meetings protesting flag lot partitions.
The last flag lot was approved in DG over 5 years ago, and the council has has consistently voted not to approve requests for flag lot splits.
While I have spoken about staff’s inability to craft good ordinances, it does not take much to see that the changes and deletions requested by staff here are spot-on. Very targeted in what they are trying to accomplish, the code language is clear, to the point, and beyond debate.
There appears to be a strong rational basis laid out in the background information provided by staff. That is also a good sign; changes that have a strong rational basis hold up under court challenge.
Someone is on their toes here, clearly thinking ahead. Eliminating flag lots eliminates the possibility of large homes in backyard areas causing new water problems for the neighborhood. It also eliminates the need to take out large areas of backyard mature tree growth-trees that help us in many ways. All good.