ZBA votes down Riverbend variance

Piatt County’s Zoning Board of Appeals last week voted down a White Heath area man’s second attempt to break off and sell a 2.4 acre portion of his property and sell it as a homesite.

Wayne Seifert, of 1414 River Bend Lane, had received ZBA approval for a variation on Oct. 25, but the county board later voted not to approve it after hearing concerns from neighbors.

Those same concerns, including increased use of a privately owned road, were similar as the zoning board heard testimony on Feb. 28.

Adjacent homeowner Jan Gurga said 10 of 11 landowners have a private agreement to maintain Riverbend Lane, but that the only way to enforce it is through civil litigation. With that in mind, she felt that allowing more homes could be a “dangerous precedent.”

“So what it boils down to is granting the right of economic gain of one individual at the cost of degradation to a unique neighborhood and unknown future liabilities for litigation of residents to maintain the character and lane for River Bend Lane,” said Gurga. “This is not a subdivision. We have none of the protections of a subdivision.”

Seifert countered that he purchased 6.4 acres and ran a Christmas tree farm until recently on the property, and would like to sell a portion “to someone else who could enjoy peaceful Piatt County living.”

He also said his deed had a condition from the seller that allows two homes on his land. County Zoning Officer pointed out it was never platted as a subdivision and did not receive county approval for two homes, but also noted the county subdivision had not been enacted when Seifert purchased the land in 1991.

Zoning board members did feel the variance would go against the county’s comprehensive plan, and voted 3-0 to deny the application. The county board has the final say, and will consider the variance at its March 13 meeting.

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