Regulating Housing Development

Hunter's Ridge Development Sign
Hunter's Ridge development sign
Photo by Mona Abdallah
As stated earlier, one way to regulate land development is through zoning.
"We changed our zoning to five acres from one acre. Our biggest purpose in doing that was to minimize the number of houses; because we lost three farms within six months to developers and if they were broken into one acre lots, you're talking thirty-five homes in one spot. And then right across the road another fifty to fifty-five homes. And there's a potential for 200 people to be real disgruntled with you and put you out of business when they're right up the road. But I think another thing is, when you have a five acre lot for sale, people are not as willing to buy five acres, or a developer is not as willing to break up a farm into five acres because they only get a fifth of the money, so it's not as lucrative for them. So, we're thinking a lot of that will discourage development. But then, if you have one acre lots and you have a twenty-five acre farm, you got twenty-five houses beside you instead of five. And that's a lot less people to have to make happy in your daily operations to stay alive. It's a real two-headed coin, either way you go, you're going to be in trouble. You just have to pick the lesser of two evils and do what you think is gonna work best."

Rita Dudgeon, Gambier

Zoning lots at five acres you may lose farmland quicker, but you will have less neighbors to please. On the other hand, if you zone lots at one acre you lose less farmland, but have more non-farmers to deal with. Another zoning alternative is described here:
"I'm a firm believer that, if we could fit four houses on one acre right there, well that'd give four people houses and we still got four acres around the outside, or nine, however you want to do it that still could be productive. Now, that's what not a lot of people want, but ninety percent of the time when they come out there, buy that five acres, you know, it's nice for about the first two years, until they have to maintain it. And then you just see basically briar's trees, whatever, come on to it. But, I don't know what they're going to do about it. They're gonna have to try to do something, because we are losing a lot of land in a hurry."

Kim Hathaway, Fredricktown

Hilliar Township Sign
Hilliar Township zoning sign
Photo by Mona Abdallah
"Some have argued that by changing the zoning laws to five acre minimum instead of one acre minimums that we weren't actually saving farm ground, that it was using up more farm ground. And that's true, but if I have fifteen acres next to me and its one acre lots, then I can have fifteen new houses next to me, but if its five acre lots then I can have three new houses next to me. And I can stand a better chance of educating three families about agriculture than I can fifteen."

Roger Fawcett, Harrison

Construction cone Development Detail:
In 1992, farm land accounted for about eighty-six percent of all Knox County land use.
Source: Ohio State University Agricultural Extension Office

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