Written by Mitch Maersch
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 18:33
Town Zoning Board of Appeals adds conditions to property division
The Town of Belgium has resolved an illegal land division.
The Zoning Board of Appeals last week approved an after-the-fact variance of the division with conditions.
A 21.25-acre property at 7054 Hwy. LL had been split without the town’s permission.
Property owner Joshua Posthuma sold the 2-acre piece that included a home to Steve Jacoby, who said he didn’t know the land was illegally divided. Posthuma retained the 19.25-acre parcel.
Since the property is smaller than 35 acres and zoned agricultural, it is considered substandard and thus may not be divided, according to town ordinance.
The Plan Commission last month decided the Zoning Board of Appeals should set conditions on the property.
The two parcels became one in 2004 when Manuela and Andreas Stoike-Siebrands bought the property and requested it be rezoned from B-1 to A-1 (business to agricultural). In 2014, the property was foreclosed. Posthuma bought the land in February 2015 and sold the 2-acre piece to Jacoby months later.
“This wasn’t created out of the blue. This line was there,” Zoning Administrator Charlie Parks said.
Posthuma said the sale was done in good faith and that he thought the land was legally established as two parcels since the property was titled before 1985.
Parks said the zoning ordinance has been in place since the 1960s and if there was any question, Posthuma should have contacted the town.
“If people would just pick up the phone, I’m always here to help,” he said.
The town noticed the issue after Jacoby was issued a building permit in January. The permit was revoked in April.
The Zoning Board of Appeals approved an after-the-fact variance by a 3-2 vote with the following conditions:
n A remodeling plan for the single-family residence must be submitted before the building permit is reinstated;
n The town will do a follow-up inspection;
n An inspection by the county is done to ensure septic compliance;
n An inspection by Grota Appraisals is to be done after remodeling is completed;
n Both properties are in the agricultural district and must be used for agricultural uses;
n The 19.25-acre farmland parcel is not buildable.
Committee members Jeff Riordan, John Bowers and Keith Schueller voted yes.
Committee Chairman Al Weyker and Jeff Couer voted against the motion. Couer cited a case from years ago in which the town didn’t allow a woman to separate a schoolhouse on her property from her farmhouse.
“You pulled a fast one,” Weyker told Posthuma. “Steve, you should have known it, too.”
“I did not do this as an end around,” Posthuma said.
The properties will be rezoned to A-2 from A-1 as the property split requires the conversion, Parks said.
Jacoby said he plans to continue remodeling the home as a rental home. It may not be used for a multi-family residence.