Second request under Farmland Preservation program gets the go-ahead from Plan Commission
The Town of Belgium Plan Commission is recommending a resident be allowed to rezone a portion of his land while the rest remains in the A-1 agricultural district.
John Jacoby, 1582 Jay Rd., last week asked to divide a two-acre parcel that includes his house from his 110.7-acre property. Under town ordinances, the smaller plot would have to be rezoned to A-2.
Jacoby said he needs to split his house from the rest of his property to satisfy his mortgage company and finance some home repairs.
Commission member Dennis Dimmer said most banks are willing to refinance a house and a couple of buildings but not an entire farm.
Buildings may not be constructed on land zoned A-1, an effort to protect farmland under the state’s Farmland Preservation program. Land zoned A-2 allows the separation of buildings provided they were constructed before July 17, 1985.
“He meets all the parameters,” commission member and town zoning administrator Charles Parks said.
Under the old ordinance, a landowner could separate a property. Farmland Preservation adds a rezoning requirement with the impetus to maintain land in tillable acreage, Parks said.
“There are strict guidelines we need to abide by,” Parks said.
In order for A-1 land to be rezoned to A-2, three conditions must be met:
• The land is better suited for a use not allowed in A-1.
• The rezoning is consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan and Ozaukee County certified farmland preservation plan.
• The rezoning will not substantially impair or limit agricultural use of surrounding parcels or land zoned for agricultural use.
Jacoby’s remaining 108 acres could have one residence per 35-acre plot, according to the ordinance, but town approval would be required.
Commission member John Paulus voiced concern over the possibility of splitting up the remaining land.
“How are we going to stop that?” he asked.
Parks said the ordinance would address future land divisions.
“Those standards are so high that unless it’s a special circumstance like John Jacoby is bringing, it stays A-1,” he said.
“If you abide by (the ordinance), it will work. We have a tool to keep houses out of the agricultural district where we don’t want them. But that doesn’t prevent a farmer from building a house on his own land.”
Paulus said it still bothered him that the town can’t prevent the creation of three, 35-acre parcels.
Jacoby said he hopes the remaining land stays with his family.
The commission recommended the rezoning, 5-2. Paulus and Tom Bichler voted against.
A public hearing on the rezoning and division will be held 7 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall.
The Town Board may approve the rezoning at its monthly meeting that night.
This is the second land division under Farmland Preservation. Last month, the Town Board approved allowing Jeremy Spriggs to rezone and separate 1.9 acres of his 57.39-acre land at 7246 Hwy. LL.