Madison Plan Commission approved an application for three variances for a proposed subdivision in the 1000 block of East First Street.

Bill Pettitt of Pettitt & Associates Inc. asked the Commission to grant relief from three requirements for developing subdivisions in the city based on the lot sizes for the development. The property, located East of Ferry Street and north of Fillmore Alley on the east end of downtown, is actually platted for 16 building lots but even by limiting the project to seven homes Pettitt said it would be difficult to provide street widths, curbs and sidewalks as required in modern subdivisions.

Pettit sought and received approval to construct an 18-foot-wide street on 20 feet of right of way rather than the 24-foot streets the city requires for new developments. He also asked for and received approval to eliminate curbs and sidewalks but agreed to build a retaining wall on part of the site.

Pettitt said other homes in the general vicinity do not have curbs and sidewalks and nearby streets are more narrow than the 24-foot subdivision standard. By limiting street width he said the project could provide seven larger building lots above the flood plain as opposed to the 16 tiny lots designated on the original plat. The development will require builders to locate all construction above 465.8 feet in elevation to put the homes above the 100-year flood mark.

The request was approved with one opposing vote by Commission member Patrick Thevenow, who is also a member of Madison City Council. Thevenow noted the project should adhere to the city’s current focus on improving and expanding sidewalks throughout the city.

“I have a problem with not putting in curbs and sidewalls when we’re holding other developments to that,” Thevenow said.

Pettitt said the alternative was to move away from the subdivision concept and build homes based on the original plat, which would squeeze 16 homes onto the same site. He also noted the development plans about $40,000 in upgrades to the city’s sewage system in the area in asking for the variance on streets, curbs and sidewalks.