The St. Clair Board of Aldermen Monday tabled a subdivision request that already had been denied by the planning and zoning commission.
Applicant Neal Kalishman with Boulder Development Corporation wants to create two minor subdivisions to accommodate eight proposed homes. The two plats are located near North Outer Road West.
The request likely will be discussed again at the March 18 meeting.
The planning and zoning commission voted 4-1 in favor of denying the request at the Feb. 25 meeting because it does not meet the minor subdivision requirements. Commissioner Terry Gasaway voted against denying the request.
This request falls under a major subdivision, according to City Inspector Jeremy Crowe, because the development would require an extension of a city water line and the creation of a privately shared road/driveway to reach the interior lots from the existing North Outer Road West.
Kalishman explained to the aldermen why his two minor subdivisions should be approved by providing definitions of a minor subdivision and a road. He also discussed a court case, City of Clinton versus Terra Foundation, Inc. and stated how that case supports the approval of his request.
“These plats fully comply in all technical aspects with all of the requirements of the code and therefore, are appropriate for your approval tonight,” Kalishman said.
Mayor Ron Blum told Kalishman that his appeal to the board did not convince him to be in his favor. He added that he got the impression from Kalishman’s speech that St. Clair codes are “worthless.”
“Anybody can come in and make a situation fit their need,” Blum said. “Our intent is for the health, safety and welfare of our community, and we intend to enforce our codes as written.”
Kalishman said terminology such as fronting is open to interpretation. He argues that his plats touch North Outer Road West, which is a requirement, and city officials disagree because a shared driveway would have to be built to reach the interior lots from the outer road.
Alderman Art Viehland expressed concerns about the upkeep of the proposed shared driveway and how it could later fall into the responsibility of the city. Viehland mentioned the conditions of Crabapple Road located outside city limits.
“You drive halfway through it and you get to a section where you can’t drive through it anymore because the people on the other side won’t pay their dues to maintain the road,” he said.
He added that future lot owners on Kalishman’s property will eventually stop paying their dues on proposed shared driveway similar to Crabapple Road.
“If they’re allowed to have a shared driveway out here on this property and they’re supposed to maintain it, it’ll end up the same way because the owner of lot one may stop paying his dues and then the owner of lot three will say ‘If he doesn’t pay his, I’m not going to pay mine,’ ” Viehland said.
“Years down the road they’re going to come to the city and say ‘Hey, we’re in the city limits, when are you going to fix our road?’ ”
Kalishman said an organization would be set up for the shared driveway where lot owners can sue those who do not pay their dues.
“Just because you sue somebody, doesn’t mean you’ll get any money out of them,” Viehland replied.
Viehland said a solution would be for Kalishman to create a road for the city to adopt. Alderman Greg Talleur recommended the request be tabled for further review by a legal team.
“I’m not comfortable making a decision that leave the city open without additional legal input,” Talleur said.
Alderwoman Amanda Sikes asked if Kalishman could apply for a major subdivision request. Kalishman said there is not adequate water pressure required for the extension of the water line for a major subdivision.
Blum said the city tried making a deal with Kalishman when he was proposing approximately 200 lots instead of four.
“We tried to negotiate a deal with Mr. Kalishman and he wanted nothing to do with it, and so now he’s brought this back as another avenue to develop that property, which does not meet our codes in any way, shape or form,” Blum said.
Kalishman said negotiations were not feasible for him. Viehland asked if Boulder Development would build the proposed homes and Kalishman said he was not sure yet because he wants for high-end homes to be built.