Commission finally OKs subdivision map
Delayed several weeks because of panel’s questions

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

March 17, 2019

  A truck is seen driving along Monches Road Friday morning in Richfield. The field seen behind the truck is the plat for the Highland Ridge subdivision. The Richfield Plan Commission approved the plat during Thursday’s meeting.
John Ehlke/Daily News Staff

RICHFIELD — The developer of the proposed Highland Ridge subdivision had been trying for weeks to gain approval of a preliminary plat for the project. On Thursday night, the Plan Commission finally recommended approval of the request.

There were some questions on storm sewers related to the project and processing of the application, but the vote to approve the request came without objection. The request now goes before the Village Board Thursday night for final approval.

The proposed subdivision would be on the south side of Monches Road, one-half mile between Highway 164 and Plat Road.

Earlier in the process village staff had recommended denying approval of the preliminary plat because the development plan failed to meet one element of Richfield’s groundwater protection ordinance. Among the many restrictions, the village’s ground ordinance requires that development and building projects do not cause a drawdown of the village’s groundwater levels in excess of one foot at the property boundary.

“On Feb. 19, the village received confirmation that modifications made by the developer’s engineer placed them in a position to meet our groundwater ordinances,” Village Administrator Jim Healy said.

There was also considerable discussion by the Village Board about the village’s upland conservancy district. Ultimately it was the board’s decision to incorporate a change in the village code regarding the upland conservancy district that would allow the project to move ahead.

“The (concern) discussed by the board centered on their desire to ensure the areas zoned upland conservancy are preserved and protected coupled with a tradeoff that would result in continued single-family residential growth and the incorporation of those areas into platted subdivisions,” Healy said.

During the earlier discussion, Healy said, it was stated that about 9.5 percent, or 2,232 acres were classified as “Woodlands.” Of those 2,232 acres, of which 964 acres are zoned “Upland Conservancy District.”

“We were talking about 1.5 percent of all land in the village zoned UPC versus the 0.68 percent which was discussed based on the incorrect assumption that overall in the village there are 2,200 acres UPC District property,” Healy said.

The preliminary plat’s layout, which was reviewed by the Plan Commission in August, includes 24 single-family lots that range from 1.29 acres to 2.41 acres and three outlots. The minimum lot size in the Rs-1b Zoning District is 1.25 acres. The plan also included a recommendation from the village Fire Company to connect Yorkshire Drive, Plateau Drive and Monches Road