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Fox Ridge residents seek low density housing

SOLON– A group of Fox Ridge neighbors is asking the city to consider a more comprehensive approach to multifamily housing.
A contingent representing 23 households along Windflower Lane appeared before the Solon City Council last week asking for the preservation of low density housing across from the duplexes that line the east side of the street.
When the city approved a site plan for 12-plex apartment buildings nearby on Prairie Rose Lane in September, it raised questions for the group about the yet undeveloped land across from their duplexes. Those concerns were put in a letter to the city Nov. 11, and were discussed at the council’s Nov. 21 meeting last week.
“Most of us, when we moved in, were not too concerned about what would be built across the street from us because we felt it would be a continuation of the four-plex units that have been built across from some of the duplexes on our street,” they noted in their letter.
With the help of city personnel they learned the property across the street is zoned for multifamily purposes, which raised concerns about housing density and its impact on their street.
The residents were asking the city to continue their low density housing on the other side of the street, but Mayor Cami Rasmussen explained the zoning has already been set.
“As a council, our hands are tied,” she said. “The request would have to come from the developer.”
Solon has eight zoning districts, from agricultural to light industrial, with four defined residential types. R-1 is for single family homes, R-3 for multifamily and R-4 for zero-lot line duplexes. Some uses, like parks, schools, cemeteries and churches are allowed in all residential zones.
Once the property is platted and zoned, council member Steve Stange noted, it has gone through the city’s process. “Once it’s approved, it’s basically law for that area.”
Stange said the city uses multifamily zoning as a buffer between commercial and residential areas, but the Fox Ridge residents felt the city should more clearly define the different types of housing allowed under the heading.
The city of North Liberty, they suggested, has developed low density, medium density and high density multifamily zoning types. They suggested the city council consider something similar.
“I think it’s a real problem for Solon,” said Karen Moeckli.
Mayor Rasmussen indicated the council could send the request to the Solon Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration.
With two members absent, council member Mark Krall suggested the item be placed on an upcoming agenda for further discussion.