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Village zoning restrictions relaxed



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December 01, 2010 - By Gabriel Ouzounian

Review staff writer

The proposal to adopt a rewritten zoning ordinance for the Village of Lake Orion passed unanimously at the Monday, Nov. 22 village council meeting.

The proposal to rewrite to the ordinance, last updated in 1983, was introduced to alleviate the constant need for variance requests by local businesses and residential property owners.

According to Village Manager Paul Zelenak, the rewrite will make village sanctioned approvals less frequent for those who wish to add on or build additions to existing properties.

"When people originally built their cottages in Lake Orion, they didn't go by the regulations we use today, and as a result they're dealing with situations where structures were built too close or even over their property lines," said Linda Gierak, Planning and Zoning Coordinator for the Village of Lake Orion. "Today's residents live year round in Lake Orion and want to expand their homes, but often cannot without approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

"The changes to the ordinance will really relax the restrictions on this sort of thing and make it so residents can enlarge these type of structures as long as the addition is not in the nonconforming area."

A nonconforming area is the area where the structure is built over an existing zoning line.

Changes to the zoning areas include a reduced number in zoning districts, decreased required residential lot sizes, and relaxed standards on recreational vehicle and watercraft storage areas.

Commercial areas are also being changed to mixed-use districts south of Flint Street, while north of Flint on the east side of M-24 will be designated corridor commercial zoning.

This changes from the old method of dividing the commercial districts by M-24 alone.

Another reason for the changes to the ordinance is to cut out outdated literature and make the document easier to read and understand without prior knowledge.

This includes illustrations to better explain changes to the ordinance and ways that property owners can expand and modify structures on their land.

While the plan has met with some controversy from local business owner Chuck Snyder, who said he is unhappy about the level of communication between the revisions planners and the community, Village President Ken Van Portfliet believes the rewrite will serve the community well.

The new ordinance will go into effect Jan. 1, 2011.

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