Council streamlines subdivision approval process
Developers in Marvin no longer have to get everything signed off on before their project is approved.
During their meeting Tuesday, March 8, the Marvin Village Council made changes to the subdivision ordinance that will, for the first time, allow developers to get conditional approval on a project before having all the governmental requirements and permits in place.
Of the four public hearings on the agenda, the most controversial item was the text amendment to the subdivision ordinances that would allow conditional preliminary plat approval, allowing a project developer one year to meet all the permit requirements or begin the process over again.
Lanny Openshaw, former county commissioner, spoke in opposition during the public hearing, citing problems with developmental projects in recent years and asking council not to make any changes that allow open-ended approvals.
“The board should absolutely not approve preliminary plats on the condition that other applicable governmental requirements and permits be obtained, make them meet the conditions first,” he emphasized.
Previously, a development project had to meet all the zoning requirements, including sewer and water permits, storm water and site engineering, before seeking council approval. A major stumbling block has been sewer and water availability, which is strictly allocated by Union County. Without those permits the project effectively comes to a halt.
Another advantage for developers is, with a conditional approval, their project becomes vested – an important status that insulates them from any changes in zoning for a period of time.
Councilman Anthony Burman opposed the changes, wondering whether these text changes were motivated by a local developer request for conditional construction approval. “Is this a Band-Aid for a certain developer?” Burman asked.
Mayor Pro Tem Ron Salimao rejected that idea.
“I thought the recommendation from our planner and the council,” Salimao said. “This was a step that was missing, the Land Development Permit, which is something other towns had and we identified that. This is what we decided to do, this is not a Band-Aid,” Salimao said.
The amendment passed on a vote of 2-1, with council members Salimao and Overby voting to approve.