In 2002 there was an expectation, fairly made by council to residents, that they would not be subjected to further eroding of their single family residential neighborhood. The current Fairview Village request for a dramatic change of zoning falls squarely in the lap of council. They seem to be aware of the legislative discretion they have (and are taking it seriously), and of the fact that the rezoning request clearly fails on at least one count.
Council also seem aware they may be starting a trend, where precedents will be set; precedents that will open up not just Fairview Avenue, but the entire village to a diminution of the weight of zoning laws and future use maps and comprehensive plans.
Land Planner and Fairview Village team member Ken Rathje argues that council “Should not be shackled by guidelines” as he made his case in favor of Fairview Village. An unfortunate choice of words that elicited a murmured response by the packed house. What we all know: guidelines do not shackle; guidelines provide rational basis, especially when a result of good process.
If it stays purely a zoning issue, it will probably fail until future use and a new comp plan come into play.
Sandack summed it up pretty well removing the emotional filter of a good senior provider (FV) and resident objections. This is for him definitively a zoning issue, and that view seems to be shared by others, in particular Neustadt, Schnell, and Tully. Beckman had zoning and also land value questions. Durkin nodded several times as other council members spoke, but his question was tied to the future plans for Fairview Avenue and whether it would be expanded to four lanes at some point. Fairview Avanue may change, but that isn’t going to happen soon-we’re still paying off debt on the three lane version for the next several years. Waldack tied his comments to density and lot coverage, noting the buildings had reduced bulk to better fit the area, but did not return to his earlier zoning comments and questions posed to Rathje that seemed to indicate he was zeroed in on zoning also.
While Sandack expressly pointed out he feels the project is a good project, in his mind objective criteria must be addressed. The last criteria is the sticking point: what is the purpose of a future land use plan if it is not given credence and weight? It exists to provide guidance and expectation. When circumstances require it can be deviated from, but this project is an inconsistent use with that future land use plan.
Council was uniformly complimentary to both Fairview Village and to residents for keeping it civil and respectful, and was pretty worn out by the time the first item on their itinerary had ended three hours later.