The temporary moratorium on single-family home construction in Greenvale Township could end Wednesday.
A planning commission meeting to recommend changes to the township’s building ordinances is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the township hall. The town board is expected to meet afterwards, when lifting the moratorium could be considered.
Proposed ordinance changes include the amount of land the must be owned for it to be considered buildable. The draft ordinance requires that a quarter-quarter section — about 40 acres — be owned in order for the township to approve it as a buildable lot. Exceptions to that rule include cemeteries, railroads, public property and similar uses. Having a buildable parcel is required for such projects. The amendment includes the provision that building rights require an easement agreement, building rights agreement or similar legal mechanism recorded against the property. Building rights remain on parcels on which a demolition or removal of an existing dwelling takes place.
The township board approved the changes in policy form in October 2017 but has not included them in the township ordinance.
Township Supervisor Greg Langer said last week the determination of whether a parcel is buildable has been unclear, and he wants to make that easier to understand. He added he supports development permitted in township ordinances.
The temporary moratorium on constructing single-families has been in place since June 15 as a lawsuit against the township unfolds by Greenvale Township farmer Ken Malecha, owner of TK Properties of Northfield LLC.
The lawsuit was filed by TK Properties in early May after the company sought to acquire two township properties, one 32 acres with a home on it and the other land spanning 8 acres. The company went to the board asking for a statement saying that the 8-acre parcel was buildable, but the board denied the request.
Langer has said the moratorium was recommended by a lawyer for the township’s insurer.
Jane Dilley, who has plans to build a home on the 28000 block of Dunbar Avenue to replace the former home on the site, spoke against the moratorium during a meeting last week.
She said even if the moratorium is lifted this week, the earliest she will likely be able to receive a building permit is the Sept. 19 meeting.
“I just don’t think the moratorium was necessary to begin with,” Dilley said.
There have been data request concerns expressed by meeting attendees.
Greenvale Township Lawyer Bob Ruppe said the township, despite being in the seven-county metro area, does not have to meet public records laws because it has less than 1,500 residents. He noted one reason why townships like Greenvale do not need to comply is because they frequently do not have the resources to respond to public information requests.
Ruppe said it is important for townships to ensure residents know that their requests are being responded to when possible, adding that state law allows that if a township employee responds to a request, it can bill the resident for time spent doing so.
Greenvale Township resident Charles Anderson last week spoke of incorrect meeting dates posted by the township, noting it took them one week to correct the errors after it was brought to their attention. He said meeting minutes have not been signed by the board.
After last week’s public forum, Anderson said he believed the township was intentionally making information difficult to obtain.
Dilley, deputy treasurer on the Waterford Township Board of Supervisors, also said there was withholding going on the board.
“We always have,” he said of the township’s position on meeting public information requests. “If someone needs something and we have it, it’s always been our position that we’ll get it to them.”