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HesperiaStar.com
  • LOT SIZE PROPOSAL

    Realtor group underlines opposition to down zoning

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  • HESPERIA — Chip Ahlswede, government affairs director for the Victor Valley Association of Realtors, asked its members at a recent meeting to share their “lot size concerns” with the city of Victorville.
    Ahlswede encouraged VVAR members on Thursday to voice their concerns during the City Council meeting on July 22, an event Ahlswede predicts should have its share of verbal fireworks.
    Recently, Victorville made a proposal to raise the minimum lot size of new single-family residential districts from 7,200 to 10,000 square feet, a move that has raised concerns among development and real estate groups.
    Ahlswede said that he and few VVAR representatives recently met with the city’s planning division, including Acting Director of Development Chris Borchert and Senior Planner Scott Webb.
    “We wanted to present the realtors’ side of things in a friendly and non-confrontational manner,” Ahlswede said. “It was very productive on both sides of the aisle and I think both parties were pleased with the meeting.”
    Ahlswede said one concern brought to the city was the proposed 10,000-square-foot lot size rule.
    “If this goes through, we’re going to see tract maps change, which will create vacant lots scattered all over the city,” Ahlswede said. “Another concern is focused on people who purchased property, submitted their tentative tract maps and are trying to move forward in the process.”
    Ahlswede said if the lot size deal goes through, some property owners in mid-stream will have to go back and redo all the engineering and paperwork associated with their project, which would be costly.
    Another concern brought to the planning division was the liability associated with realtors who represented open lands with the understanding that the parcels fell within the 7,200-square-foot rule.
    “Are the realtors liable for the change? This may open up the doors for lawsuits and losses in the High Desert, something we cannot afford as a community,” Ahlswede said. “There is a whole world of uncertainty here.”
    Ahlswede said a “blanket ordinance” of larger lot sizes ignores those people who are looking to downsize or simply want a smaller portion of land.
    “There are different people with different needs, such as families who have multi-generations living together or those that are single and want a smaller, manageable lot,” Ahlswede said. “Government trying to dictate what their needs should be doesn’t fit with the marketplace.”
    If Victorville chooses the larger lot concept, Ahlswede believes developers may build elsewhere, which means the loss of population growth, tax base and revenue pumped into the community.
    During a recent council meeting, Victorville staff said the new lot proposal would ease the city’s high-density make-up, raise property values and make the city safer.
    Ahlswede believes safety doesn’t necessarily come with larger lot sizes, but rather with a multi-effort approach.
    “Let’s enforce the rules that we already have in our communities, let’s clean up our communities, let’s attract business into our communities and let’s bring jobs into our communities,” Ahlswede said. “I think they’re trying to find a solution to a problem that is not there.”
    Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter@renegadereports.
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