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Is a moratorium on development in Fontana's future?



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December 15, 2010 | 08:24 AM
Fontana — The village attorney is creating a moratorium on development because of concerns unwanted growth may sneak into the community as officials rewrite zoning codes.

If the temporary ban on development is put in place it would likely prohibit rezones, subdivision applications and condominium plats.

Earlier this month, the Village Board directed Village Attorney Dale Thorpe to draft a moratorium prohibiting certain development as the zoning code is rewritten.

The board may vote on it at its January meeting.

When the Village Board approved its budget in November, it included spending up to $100,000 on rewriting Chapters 17 and 18 of its zoning code.

The two chapters of the code have come under fire for not complying with the village's recently adopted Master Plan.

Thorpe has said at public meetings that the code "openly contradicts itself," and resident Sharon O'Brien presented the board with a citizen's petition urging a rewrite.

Chapter 17 regulates all land division, subdivision and lot line issues and Chapter 18 covers zoning regulations.

The board also directed Thorpe not to include the Tax Increment Financing district in the moratorium.

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Although Thorpe has said the code needs to be rewritten, he warned a moratorium could have adverse affects on the TIF district.

"You do have a TIF district where you put up a sign advertising for development, but on the other hand you would ban development," Thorpe said.

Tax Increment Financing is a tool used to make capital improvements within a designated area. Fontana's TIF district includes the village's lakefront, Duck Pond Recreation Center, The Abbey Resort and Highway 67.

What would the moratorium do?

Although the moratorium would likely include rezones, subdivisions and condominium plats, it shouldn't affect residents attempting to construct a home.

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"Dale (Thorpe) assured us it will not affect people who are planning to build their homes or remodel their homes," Assistant Zoning Administrator and Code Specialist Bridget McCarthy said.

McCarthy said there haven't been many requests in the past year that would likely have been affected by the moratorium.

This year, there were only a handful of requests made to the village for rezones and condominium plats.

Steve Beers had a development proposal approved by the board this month, which may not have moved forward with a moratorium in place.

This year, Carol and Jamie Whowell have proposed changes to a property they own in the extra territorial zoning district. Those changes may have needed to wait if a moratorium was in place.

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Annually the developers of the Cliffs of Fontana and the South Shore Club, which is in the ETZ's jurisdiction, are required to submit condominium plats. Those could be effected by a moratorium.

McCarthy described the condominium plats for the Cliffs of Fontana and the South Shore Club as "paperwork exercises."

Moratorium in 2007

In April 2007, the Village Board placed a moratorium on the acceptance, review and approval of land divisions and subdivisions applications and condominium plat applications for lakefront properties.

At that time, the village wanted to update the zoning to prevent a second layer of homes on the lakefront.

This moratorium lasted for more than a year as the village considered creating a separate lakefront zoning ordinance.

Although bigger changes were discussed, in the time between the moratorium being adopted and it ending only a few revisions were made to the zoning code.

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