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Holland code review to tackle hot issues

Holland Supervisor Michael Kasprzyk said it’s time for an “A to Z” review of the town’s code book, including dealing with some hot-button issues facing the community’s shrinking population.

The Town Board recently agreed to schedule extra work sessions to tackle topics like lot-size restrictions. Much of the debate concerns areas designated residential/agricultural, which encompass nearly all of the town’s land beyond the hamlet and business district.

The current minimum lot size there is five acres.

“Realtors would like us to have smaller lot sizes,” the supervisor said Wednesday. “Part of that is because of the declining population. Some people feel that if we had smaller lot sizes, it would encourage development. The flip side is other people saying, ‘No, we like the rural character of our town.’”

Holland’s population has dropped to 3,400 people since the 2000 census, when it was 3,600. The school district recently closed one of its three schools partly because of declining enrollment.

During the code review, Kasprzyk said the board will also reconsider the definition of a farm, which currently means any parcel of land 10 acres or greater. To farm on property that is less than 10 acres but greater than five, a special-use permit is required. Farming is not allowed on less than five acres.

The supervisor said that though the board “tweaks” the code book as needed, it has been nearly a decade since a comprehensive code review has been undertaken.

In addition, Kasprzyk said all department heads have been asked to submit ideas for specific items that the board should review. Building Zoning Officer Scott Hess has already asked that ambiguous language concerning some regulations be clarified.

The full review could take months, the supervisor said.