Compromise needed on comp plan land usage
Published: Thursday, February 21st, 2013
The ongoing saga of how big lot sizes should be in the three-mile area surrounding the City of Custer took another interesting twist at the latest meeting of the city’s planning commission, when the commission voted 3-2 to change the size to a minimum of one acre. For over a year the planning commission has wrangled with how large to make the lot sizes, getting pulled at from two directions—those who want the one-acre size and those who want a larger three-or five-acre requirement.
Those who want the smaller acreage say it isn’t right for the city to tell landowners what they can and can’t do with their land. Those in the real estate business say requiring larger lot sizes will price many people right out of the market for buying land around Custer. Those who are in favor of the larger lot sizes say it will help protect property rights of existing parcels, preserve life/safety needs, preserve quality of infrastructure, have a much better chance of preserving water quality and maintaining a way of life in existing subdivisions while keeping the rural feel residents of Custer County have stated they want in previous surveys.
A comprehensive plan is needed for a variety of reasons, so it’s important the city passes one. The planning commission has been working on the current plan for years, and the city hasn’t passed a comprehensive plan since the 1970s. We can all agree it is high time the city pass such a plan. It’s an important tool for growth that will help shape the city’s growth for the next 30 years, although it is a working document that only guides policy. It is not policy itself.
When it comes to the battle over the how big the lot sizes should be in the three-mile jurisdiction of the city, it is clear some sort of compromise is needed. The city will never be able to please everyone, but it must find the right compromise that can work for everybody. We liked the previous idea that was floated that would have allowed for some one-acre lots when land is subdivided, provided some larger lots were also created. This will still help with density concerns, while also allowing people to sell off some land in one-acre chunks. It’s seems like a logical compromise.
We appreciate that people want to be able to do whatever they want with land they own. However, there has to be some sort of control when it comes to growth. It can’t be a free-for-all. We can’t overburden our infrastructure and we can’t burden our neighbors with things we do with our land. Nobody wants a junk yard or a slaughterhouse on land next to their land. Without a comprehensive plan, the three-mile area will be the wild West, where anything goes. That’s not going to be good for anybody.
One need look no further than the city’s Homestead Addition area to see what happens when there are no rules to growth. Water gets polluted, infrastructure is questionable and the city gets the call to come bail out the area after the fact. The city is doing its due diligence to make sure such a situation doesn’t rise again. A well thought-out comprehensive plan can aid in this process. It’s our hope that a deal can be struck that will allow the city to move ahead with its plan for the benefit of the most citizens of the city.
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