TO THE EDITOR
At the last Town of Richmond Planning Commission meeting, a member asked for a vote allowing a real estate developer to change the county-mandated restriction on lot size and allow the developer to change lot sizes to 1 acre.
This development east of New Richmond and close to the city limits is known for $400,000-500,000 houses. Some of those who own those houses in the development objected to the suggested change at the last Town of Richmond Board meeting. The developer was in attendance and indicated, if the town doesn't approve the change, then he'll petition the city to annex that part of the development and ask for half-acre lots.
Oh, I forgot to mention the Planning Commission member who wanted the vote is also the developer, the owner of the land in the development.
It was brought up that this change will cost the town at least $2,500 for a lawyer and additional costs for meetings, referendum voting — all kinds of costs that the Town Board voted to pay for 3-2.
I was expecting that the developer would stand up in front of the unhappy folks and say his company will pay for any costs associated with getting this change approved or even acted on, but nothing.
To make it look like there is not a conflict of interest, the board also approved allowing smaller lots in other subdivisions — knowing the county is about to rule that there be nothing smaller than 2 acres because of well-water use and groundwater impact just from current development.
The Town Board doesn't want to lose land to the city and some appear to really want to accommodate the developer, even if it means using town money. Three of five on the Board approved the request.
Changes to county standards are not all bad or out of line, it's just that those benefitting should be paying the out of pocket costs, not the township taxpayers.