Update on lawsuit against Sylvan Township

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It’s been a year since a lawsuit was filed against Sylvan Township in regard to its decision on the rezoning of the Phinney property.

The next court hearing is scheduled for this month.

In seeking an update on the situation, The Sun Times News reached out to current Sylvan Township Supervisor Kurt Koseck.

“The Township continues to defend its current zoning of the property,” Koseck said on Oct. 19. “As part of the court process the parties, including the Russell’s as an intervening neighbor, are required to engage in good faith settlement discussions. These discussions are ongoing and the parties are exploring some creative solutions which would benefit the community.”

He said the next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 27.

In September 2019, Sylvan Township’s attorney Robert Thall said the suit, “is essentially requesting that the Township’s prior denial of the Phinney request to rezone the property from Agricultural to Low Density Residential be struck down; that the property be rezoned to LDR; and that the Township be ordered to approve the site plan submitted by Phinney.”

For some background, it’s pertinent to look back at the township’s decision.

The rezoning denial came at the July 30, 2019 township board meeting, which saw the township board by a 3-2 vote denying the rezoning request that was made in an effort to redevelop the Phinney farm.

The property ownership wants to develop the Mushbach Road parcel, which is 19.76 acres, with one acre lots as allowed by the site condominium act.

The project planners said there would be eight homes with the remaining land as natural open land. The other parcel, which is 102 acres, would not be developed at this time, but it was included in the rezoning request.

The vote of the full township board also came down in favor of the recommendation from the township planning commission, which recommended the board deny the request to rezone the property, at 4351 Mushbach Road and 16450 Cavanaugh Lake Road.

Minimum residential lot sizes in agriculture, which is the current zoning for the property, is two acres while low density residential allows one acre as the minimum size.

The request to change the zoning brought out many landowners/neighbors in the proposed area as opposition to it; who said the change would alter the look of the area for the worse, increase traffic and negatively impact the rural character and wildlife. These were just some of their complaints.

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