By Michael J. Thompson

For nearly 90 minutes, the fate of Jennifer Hilbert’s application for rezoning of her 411 West Wesley Road property was the subject of intense debate at the Aug. 7 meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit-C.

“I believe that if you pass this rezoning, then my proposal will have the least impact on the site,” she said, of her multi-acre lot.

Opinions swayed back and forth, with one neighbor who has an adjoining four-acre lot making the case that they will keep their property in tact and build only one house, to preserve the larger lot.

“I believe that we can fit two houses on my property, and have an adjoining driveway,” Hilbert said.

The residents of NPU-C did not agree, voting 66-0 to deny the application, a decisive victory that sets a precedent for all future decisions of this nature, said NPU-C Chair Eric Ranney.

“It was important to the community that the message of preserving large lots be made loud and clear so that they can’t be broken up and redeveloped with more than one house on it,” said Ranney.

Hilbert was seeking to rezone the 411 West Wesley Road property from R-3 (Single-family Residential) to PD-H (Planned Development-Housing).

“I still firmly believe that my plan would have the least impact on the site,” she said, after the resounding vote to deny rezoning.

One resident of NPU-C said, “If it was logical to have two houses built on your property, then the property would have been zoned and assigned that way to begin with, instead of having all the acreage thrown together.”

Dennis Love, the resident whose property adjoins Hilbert’s, said, “We plan on just having one house on the property to protect the acres and preserve the uniqueness of the big property.”

Two other zoning actions were passed without much fanfare. Caroline Coles sought a variance at 1879 Greystone Road to reduce the southwest side yard setback a few feet and Frederick Van Winkle sought a similar variance for his 2415 Haven Ridge Drive abode.

“I guess no one wants to debate the merits of these matters as vigorously as the first application?” Ranney joked.