After intense discussion, the Clinton County Board of Supervisors agreed to delay a rezoning request for a proposed county subdivision.
The board had previously discussed a Future Land Use Map amendment and request from Phil Bousselot to rezone a 28.9-acre parcel from agricultural to suburban residential, allowing the development of a subdivision. This property is located near 182nd Street near Humeston Road in Clinton County.
During the Monday board meeting, Supervisor Jill Davisson made a motion that the matter be sent back to the Planning and Zoning Commission due to a possible conflict of interest for Planning and Zoning Commission member Roger Bousselot. During the April 4 meeting when the commission voted on the issue, only three of the five members, including Roger Bousselot, participated. The concern was that since his vote might be disqualified, the commission lacked an official quorum for the vote.
The board also believed that the planning and zoning commission did not receive all of the information from the Clinton County Engineer. Planning and Zoning Administrator Gail Thomas informed the board that she did receive the information on March 9 and did present it to the committee.
While the proposed subdivision has not been thoroughly platted, Phil Bousselot did have a general plat made for the commission showing the position of the lots and ravines. Thomas said the commission had some concerns with the driveways, but they should be able to be fixed.
“What we really need to answer first, before the applicant invests more money into this project, is whether the Board of Supervisors and the Planning and Zoning Commission will entertain the rezoning of this property at all,” Thomas said. “Because if the rezoning is not going to occur, then there's no reason for the applicant to relocate driveways and go through compliance issues such as that.”
The main concern was the possible conflict of interest. Thomas explained that Roger Bousselot abstained from the vote at the first meeting, but the committee asked the applicant to re-apply with additional information. The Planning and Zoning Commission has to respond to any application within 45 days. She said this is why Roger Bousselot voted at the April meeting when two of the members did not attend.
Thomas expressed concerns that if they sent the matter back to the committee, she would have problems due to this 45-day deadline. Supervisor John Satszewski did not believe it would be an issue. County Attorney Mike Wolf felt the 45 days would have started over at the time that Phil Bousselot re-applied.
Phil Bousselot addressed the alleged conflict of interest. He told the board that his grandfather and Roger Bousselot’s father were brothers.
However, he added that the two of them have never been to each other’s farms and do not socialize.
“It's so distant a relation that I don't consider him an uncle or anything in that regard,” Phil Bousselot said.
Phil Bousselot expressed a reluctance to purchase the land or spend anymore on the project if it will not be rezoned. He said he wants to make the land into a nice, clean neighborhood, with affordable homes. Chairman Brian Schmidt agreed the project is a good one since the land is not really useful for agriculture.
Phil Bousselot added that if the issue goes back to the planning and rezoning commission, it will cost him more money and it would set the project back to July 1. Davisson pointed out if they were sued due to the issue, it could put the project back years.
Davisson and Wolf’s concerns were that Roger Bousselot felt uncomfortable enough the first time to abstain from voting to avoid the perception of a conflict. She added she would feel less concerned if he had chosen to vote both times.
The board approved sending the issue back to the committee.