Northville residents question proposed zoning changes

Source: Northville website The proposed zoning changes for Northville are shown.

NORTHVILLE — Northville residents had a chance on Saturday to talk about what they liked and disliked about the village’s proposed changes to zoning and subdivision.

The public open house gave residents a chance to talk one-on-one with Mayor John Spaeth, Monica Ryan of River Street Planning, Fulton County Planning Director Scott Henze, and Matt Ginter and Barbara Spaeth, members of the Zoning Update Commission.

The village is looking at open land that could be developed at the northern and southern ends of the community and is considering dividing five-acre plots into 1.5 acre recreational/residential plots, but J. Boyd of 815 S. Main St. said “my preference is to stay at five-acre plots.”

“I don’t agree with three lots on five acres.”

He said that he agreed with increasing the tax base but not at the expense losing some of the rural ambience of the village.

Ryan wondered if a plot size somewhere in between 1.5 and five might allow for more development and yet preserve more green space. She also threw out the idea of clustering residential plots, leaving more green space around the clusters.

“What’s the number people would be comfortable with?” she wondered. “We’re trying to figure what people want.”

Brian Cornell of White Birch Road, owner of the Northville 5 and 10 at the heart of Main and Bridge streets, said “the more people, the more money we would make,” but he was also concerned about preserving “the charm of Northville.”

The proposed zoning plan allows for a mixed residential/light commercial use in the Bridge and Division street area and South Main Street area, such as a store with an apartment above it.

One resident, who was unwilling to be identified, said her property would be across from that kind of area and was worried that residences with families with children would suffer from increased traffic and parking.

“We’re trying to encourage residential use and light commercial” that would not create a lot of vehicle traffic, said Ginter. “We should be encouraging tourism.”

“We’re trying to find a balance.”

Annemarie Johnson of J.F. Farm Store on North Main Street said she was concerned about some of the restriction of signage, such as the vertical feather-type signs, inflatable signs, plastic signs, and signs with more than two type fonts.

“We’ve worked really hard to run our business” and want “a business-friendly community,” she said.

Government is exercising “too much control” if it bans signage that helps businesses advertise and doesn’t cause “harm or a threat” to the community.