Village of Plandome passes long-debated zoning amendment

Teri West
The Village of Plandome Board of Trustees at Tuesday's meeting, where it passed a zoning amendment 4-1. (Photo by Teri West)

After more than a year of drafts, revisions and public hearings, the Village of Plandome Board of Trustees on Tuesday passed an amendment to its zoning code that modifies size limits for home construction.

The amendment passed 4-1, with Trustee Katie Saville voting against it.

The amendment has two tiers for the maximum gross floor area of structures, one for average-sized lots and another for large ones, replacing a sliding-scale formula.

The change came after village residents presented concerns to the board about neighbors making their homes too large.

The board received a petition about the matter that 60 people signed, said Mayor M. Lloyd Williams.

Homes getting larger and larger changes the nature of the village, residents and trustees said.

Building permits that are filed on or after the amendment’s effective date will be subject to the new zoning code.

The amendment applies to new construction or major renovations, noted a “frequently asked questions” flyer that the village published.

Homes in the village are in one of four zoning districts. This amendment does not change which district each home falls into.

At Tuesday’s public hearing immediately preceding the vote, one resident described the old sliding-scale formula as something that a high school student could understand, concerned that the board was oversimplifying it with the amendment. He also said the amendment would shrink the size of the village’s smallest homes should the property owners choose to rebuild.

Saville referred to comments he made when explaining her decision to vote against the amendment.

“We need to think about that looming streetscape, what that looks like, but I have enough uncertainty around the formula and changing to one ratio that I’m going to say no,” Saville said.

Most in attendance commended the board for its months of labor in preparing the amendment and its efforts to reconcile concerns residents raised throughout the process.

“We do know nothing is perfect,” Williams said. “This is not perfect. I think we should put it in and try it.”

Trustee and Deputy Mayor Ray Herbert said he had planned to vote against the amendment but he had a “change of heart” during the public hearing.

He noted that aside from a couple of residents in the room there had been little opposition to the amendment, and residents had been given notice about it multiple times.

“At least we won’t be seeing the 10,000-square-foot homes going up,” Herbert said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board also presented a resolution announcing positions available in its March election: the mayor seat and two trustee seats, said village Clerk Barbara Peebles.

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