This week, Seneca's village board voted to table an ordinance that would have re-zoned the small strip mall at 413-425 Main St. from a business to residential zoning for two weeks.
Keith Corwin, who has plans to construct a 7-unit apartment building with one and two-bedroom units, appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals to request the zoning change.
During a public hearing on Wednesday, June 12, the board approved Corwin's request and forwarded it to the village board for approval.
Seneca property owner Brenda Maier expressed concerns she had for the planned 7-unit apartment building during this week's council meeting.
“The strip mall was built on the property line between us,” Maier said. “I'd like to know how many people will be living in this building, how will property clean-up be maintained and whether there will be background checks for the rental applicants.”
Maier also said she was concerned about a shed being possibly located near the fence.
“I don't want anything piled up against the fence,” she said. “I'm opposed to anything against my fence. I want to make clear that I'm not opposed to this building but I am concerned about the building's conditions and improvements.”
Corwin discussed his plans for the apartment building.
“Regarding Maier's fence concerns, we will not allow anything placed against the fence,” Corwin said. “We have a plan in place. We'll have a side lot for playing, grilling and things like that with some type of sitting area.”
Corwin noted there will be no Section 8 housing because there wasn't an interest or a need.
The Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 authorizes rental housing assistance payments to private landlords. The Housing Choice Voucher program pays a large portion of rents and utilities for low-income households.
Mayor Jeff Olson noted the village didn't want to have a gaming, massage parlor or a 24/7 laundromat on the property.
He said there is a need for apartment units in the area.
“And we no there is a need and high interest in finding apartment rentals in the Seneca area.” David Higgins, Public Health & Safety Commissioner asked Corwin about his rentals charges and how big the units would be.
“Each unit will be 600 sq. feet, (70 sq. ft. more than village required)” Corwin replied. “A one-bedroom will be a minimum of 300 sq. feet (double village requirements) with a monthly rent of anywhere from $650 to $700. Two bedrooms will be low to mid-500 sq. ft and go for $700 to $750 a month.”
Streets & Public Improvements Commissioner, John Lamb thought a better plan would be for five units with an 1,000 sq. footage.
Corwin said rents were high in Morris and with 1100 sq. ft. units, the rental charge would be in the range of $1000.
Higgins said he wanted time to talk with Tom Justice (Plan Commission) before making a decision.
Olson wanted to "make sure everyone concerned was on the same page."
The issue was tabled unti the Tuesday, July 16 council meeting.
“We want everyone concerned with our decision to be on the same page,” Olson said. “We'll table this issue until our next council meeting.”