Commissioners consider conditional permits for second houses on a quarter/quarter

YORK – York County’s zoning regulations call for no more than one house per quarter/quarter of land, without a special permit.

The commissioners considered two such requests this week, approving one and postponing a vote on the other.

Both requests went before the planning and zoning committee and were sent to the county board with recommendations for approval.

The first was filed by Steve Wright of Benedict.

York County Zoning Administrator Nate Heinz said the Wright application was “pretty straight forward. He is building a new house on his property and he plans to tear down the current house after he moves into the new one. Both structures will exist for a short time, so in order to conform with regulations, he made this application.”

Wright was present to explain the same.

“I was at the planning and zoning meeting and it was a unanimous vote to send a recommendation of approval, with a condition that the old house be torn down within a year,” said Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier.

“Yes, this is pretty straight forward and is pretty much just a formality,” said Commissioner Daniel Grotz.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the special permit.

The second application was field by Eric Montgomery of rural York.

“This one is a little more tricky,” Heinz said. “He wants to build a 1,200-square-foot guest house on his property, to be used by family members and mission work. It would be vacant most of the time.”

He said the new structure would have its own driveway as well.

Commissioner Obermier noted that Montgomery was not in attendance at the meeting.

“There are a couple of ways we can go,” Obermier said to the other commissioners. “We could set a time for when he can be here and we can ask him questions. Or we can go ahead and act. At the planning and zoning meeting, there was talk about how this is really a second house, which is how we need to look at it. We can postpone a decision in order to ask more questions or we can go ahead.”

Commissioner Woody Ziegler noted that Montgomery’s property measures about 25 acres, so it is a large property.

“I think it would be a lot cleaner if that house had its own piece of property, if it was platted out,” Obermier said. “We won’t be on this board forever and he won’t own that land forever, so I think if he platted it out, it would all be a lot cleaner” as far as regulations and property lines.

“And this is not ag production land, it is an acreage,” Obermier added.

The reason this particular zoning regulation was created was on the theory of protecting as much of the amount of agricultural production land in the county as possible.

“I would like to see him here, in front of us, before we decide this,” Obermier said.

“Would we need to have another public hearing?” Grotz asked.

Obermier said that wouldn’t be the case because they already had the hearing, which they closed after there was no public comment.

“I’d also feel more comfortable if we could speak with him,” Grotz said.

The commissioners agreed to table the matter, in order to schedule a conversation with Montgomery.

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