Making News Now

WAHOO – A property owner’s request for a zoning change has been denied by the Saunders County Board of Supervisors.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the board denied the request by Amber Cherny for a change of zoning from Transitional Agriculture to Residential Estates on a 20-acre property in Pohocco Township.

The reason for the denial was based on the Saunders County Planning Commission’s recommendation’s not to approve the request, according to Supervisor Craig Breunig’s motion.

Zoning Manager Mitch Polacek said the planning commission opposed the zoning change in part because Cherny was not present for the public hearing on May 6.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Cherny said she was not aware she needed to be at the hearing and stated that she had been dealing with flooding at that time as well, so she did not get the required paperwork.

Polacek said about 20 people attended the planning commission public hearing to oppose Cherny’s zone change request.

Lisa Allard and Sally Henderson, who live near the Cherny property southeast of Cedar Bluffs, oppose what they have heard Cherny plans to do with the property, which includes a subdivision with as many as six homes.

Cherny said she purchased the land with the intention to build a home and possibly develop a subdivision. Her plans are not final, she said, but they are not considering six homes on the 20 acre parcel.

“We wanted to live in the country, too, but we’re not going to create a community,” she said.

Cherny told the county board that she intends to build her home on the property and is considering creating four 5-acre lots on the land. Another option would be to build her home and split the property into a second lot to build one other home for her son.

“We want more than one (lot) obviously,” she said.

Allard said homeowners in the area are concerned about increased traffic on the gravel road and the effect more well and septic systems would have on the region if Cherny goes ahead with plans for a subdivision of acreages.

“We’re just trying to protect our community,” she said.

Henderson said neighbors would like to see one or two homes on the Cherny property at the most to maintain the rural aspect of the area.

“We want to preserve the country,” she said. “We love the fields. We don’t want to become a city. That’s why we’re there.”

Polacek said the planning and zoning department tries to encourage developers to build subdivisions on or relatively near paved roads. He also said this type of housing, residential estates, is what the county envisions will take place in this area in the future, according to the future land use maps.

Polacek said Transitional Agriculture zoning allows only one home on a 20-acre parcel. Cherny’s request to change the zoning to Residential Estates would have allowed acreages with at least three acres.

Breunig also noted that even though the county board denied her request, Cherny can reapply in the future.

“This doesn’t mean that they’re dead in the water,” he said.

Supervisor Scott Sukstorf reminded those opposed to the plan that a zoning request is not the same thing as a request for a subdivision.

“Even if we change it to Trans Ag now, it means nothing as far as getting a subdivision approved,” he said.

Sukstorf also noted that the county board had never overturned a planning commission recommendation in the 20 years he had been on the board. Breunig also mentioned that fact in his motion to deny.

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