Letter to the Editor: Bay's minimum condo lot size should be more than one acre

Bay Village has a rezoning change on the November 2 ballot that should be defeated.

The major changes are to Chapter 1173 of the existing building code – enacted July 1974 – for attached residences, i.e., condos. These proposed changes are: No. 1: Allow them to be built in existing retail business districts; No. 2: Change minimum site area from 5 acres to 1 acre; and No. 3: Change maximum number of units from 6 to 8.

The mayor and some council members would have you believe that Bay absolutely needs more residential development and thus should gut the existing ordinance to accomplish this end. The current impetus is a proposed development on the old Shell property between Key Bank and Porter Creek along Wolf Road. However, even the developer has stated that he would be using 2 acres for this attached residence project. Two acres!  

The administration is telling residents that these attached residence projects are vital to keeping seniors in Bay but think about it: A condo in the $230,000 to $300,000 range isn’t really a bargain for seniors. Add condo fees and property taxes and it becomes a definite senior turnoff.

In my small residential area of 13 homes, in just 10 years we’ve lost 5 Bay senior residents who could no longer afford Bay’s taxes. That is a terrible loss of long-time residents, for which any city should be ashamed. Finding a true way to keep seniors in Bay should be a more pressing city agenda.

As recently as 2009, Bay’s Planning, Zoning, Public Buildings and Grounds Committee recommended that the minimum development site size should be 3 acres of buildable land. They did allow a density of 8 units per acre.   

There is no need to ram this legislation through the voters. Going from 5 acres to 1 acre in an almost totally built-out city like Bay is a huge departure. Better we should take an interim step like a minimum of  2 or 3 acres for attached residence projects to see how they play out. If your property abuts a business district, you might some day wake up to having a cluster development in your back yard with the proposed 1-acre minimum.

Send our city leaders the right message: Vote NO on Bay Issue 13 and then ask them to properly revise the legislation to 2-3 acres.

John Suter, Bay Village

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Volume 2, Issue 21, Posted 12:13 PM, 10.14.2010