Property comes at price to plumber

Tim Culver, owner of Classic Plumbing Systems, will get to build his business and home on the same property in Mahomet.

But the build will come at a price to Culver.

The Champaign County Zoning Board granted Culver’s request for a special use permit for a 7-acre tract north of Briarcliff Subdivision on Rt. IL 47 Thursday.

Culver, who currently lives in Farmer City, had searched for a property where he could combine the two entities for years.

The Culver family, who are members of the Living Word Omega Church, were interested in the vacant land adjacent to their place of worship. When they met with the current homeowners, the Culvers felt like the property was just what they’d been looking for.

“It is our desire to combine our shop and our home onto the same property,” Culver said. “It will provide efficiency in business and more time with family.”

The special use permit will allow Culver to run operations and build storage units to store equipment, vehicles and a small trailer on the property.

The discussion around the special use permit was lengthy, though..

The land that Culver will purchase just outside of current Village limits, giving the Village the right to participate in the discussion of the land’s development.

Initially, Culver wanted to build his establishment closer to IL-47. Later plans revealed that the building used for business will be built west from the highway.

Village Planner Kelly Pfeifer chimed in at the meeting.

The Village had previously sent a letter to the Champaign County Zoning Board outlining the development requirements and concerns, including parking, annexation, parking spaces, signage and future development of the property.

Pfeifer said the letter was not in opposition to the development of the property, but rather an outline of what the Village would require of the property and a request of extension for time to review.

“The movement of the building back has alleviated a lot of concerns we had mentioned originally,” Pfeifer said.

Having worked with the Sangamon Valley Water District, Culver’s plans for water and sewage were satisfactory.

At that time in the meeting, Pfeifer told the zoning board that the Village rescinded their concerns.

That is until the discussion of multi-use paths came up.

Part of the Village’s concerns with the development of the property was the future development of the multi-use paths that run along IL-47.

When the State of Illinois resurfaced IL-47 in 2015, the State also extended financial help to continue the multi-use path from the Franklin Street to the Thornewood Subdivision.

At the time, the Village board laid out options, and decided to only extend the multi-use path to Briarcliff Subdivision because they did not want “another path to nowhere.”

The cost the Village incurred was split with the Champaign County Forest Preserve.

Because of this decision, the multi-use path currently ends at Briarcliff. There is a gap in the usable path until Thornewood where a sidewalk, which is not the same width of the multi-use path, has been constructed.

As a contingency to Culver’s permit request, the Village required Culver to build an extension of the bike path along his property.

Per the contingency, Culver would be required to construct a multi-use path at his expense within a six-month period of the Village of Mahomet requiring him to do so. The Village would then reimburse Culver for the difference in cost between the width of a regular sidewalk and the width of the multi-use path.

But the Champaign County Zoning Board questioned the constitutionality of the contingency.

Because a plumbing business in itself does not need a sidewalk, the board discussed whether a governmental entity has the right to require a private entity to construct a sidewalk for public use and whether or not the governmental entity can put a deed restriction on the special use permit.

Pfeifer referred to the subdivision development policy, which had the property been required to subdivide, and therefore annex into the Village, would require the development of a sidewalk.

“It’s for the good of the entire area. The sidewalk network is like a road network. He is going ahead and using a road that is already there, and at some point the residential development, and even that development will require a sidewalk and a pathway, keeping in accordance with the county Greenways and Trails plan.”

Pfeifer said the contingency was the local government’s way to get the multi-use path secured on the land.

The board contended that the sidewalk or multipurpose path must be constructed at the will of the landowner and that a governmental entity cannot rely on a private entity to avoid paying for easement just because they are in the position to grant or withhold approval.

The zoning board then wanted to pause the proceeding to check with the State’s Attorney for review.

Then, Pfeifer said, that the Village would like to withhold their support for the project, due to concern for the Village, and again asked for a continuance for a month.

But Culver wanted to purchase and get started on the project before the next zoning board meeting in 30 days.

“It is our utmost desire that we move forward on the project on the process of the special use permit because of the weather and our contract to purchase.”

In order to proceed, Culver had to state that he requested that the multi-purpose path contingency remained inside the special use agreement.

“In the spirit of moving forward, we accept (the contingency of the multi-use path) because of our need to proceed,” he stated.

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