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Habitat gets green light to build two small homes

Habitat for Humanity got permission last week from the appeals board of the Corydon Planning and Zoning Commission to press ahead with building two homes on two small lots near First Capital Christian Church.
Marty Bachman, representing Habitat for Humanity, requested a variance to allow part of a piece of ground measuring 144.25 feet wide by 140 deep by to be divided into two lots with 72-foot-wide frontage, less than one-third of an acre in size, and with a front yard setback of 20 feet in the Hillcrest subdivision in south Corydon.
The zoning ordinance calls for 100-foot-wide frontages, at least one-third of an acre in size, with a 30-foot front setback.
After much discussion and input from two neighbors concerned about the small size of the lots and the homes planned, the appeals board members first wanted to table the matter until they have viewed the neighborhood, but later they agreed to allow the variance with certain stipulations. That gave Bachman and Habitat the green light. He said Habitat could start building the homes within two months.
Habitat had wanted to divide part of Outlot 9 into two lots to accommodate two families in two-to-three-bedroom homes on Oliver Street near First Capital Christian Church. (An architect’s drawing of the lots, showing 20-by-30-foot houses, was in error and will be resubmitted.)
Charles (Bill) Yates, a neighbor, said two houses on a half-acre lot is ‘ridiculous.’ He says his house nearby is relatively small, 28 by 55, with a garage, and ‘I don’t have much room left at all.’
‘They made me keep my house 30 feet,’ said Yates.
He said Habitat couldn’t add on to the rear of the lot because it slopes down to a sinkhole.
Plan commission member Len Waite said he would never endorse a variance for a house measuring only 20-feet wide.
Bachman asked if there wasn’t already a precedent set with a house across the street that has a 75-foot width. Yates said the property is not that wide. The owner uses part of his neighbor’s property for a driveway. If that house is ever sold, it could be a legal problem.
The lots in the area were platted years ago for 75 feet.
Bachman said Habitat chose this lot because it was available and it’s on the town sewer system.
Appeals board chair Steve Kitterman said he would vote against the variance request because it’s a problem the applicant had created.
Waite said he didn’t want to lessen the value of the lots in the neighborhood but wondered why it would be wrong to allow the smaller lots when others in the neighborhood are about the same size.
Paul Windell made a motion to approve the variance for houses with 1,000 square feet, but there was no vote. Waite eventually moved to table the matter, and that passed 4-1, but when Yates said he could live with a house that had at least 1,000 square feet with a 30-foot setback and at least a 72-foot frontage, the board voted to approve the variance. The vote was 4-1 with Kitterman voting no.