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Business owners want zoning proposal scrapped
June 26, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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A large crowd gathered at Monday’s Gering City Council meeting with a request the city stop trying to rezone sections of North 10th Street from Heavy Industrial to Highway Commercial.

A citizen agenda item was requested by Jerry Weekes of Platte Valley Livestock. “I’m here mostly because city employees saw fit to name my business as undesirable in the city,” he told the council. “I don’t think most of you know what we do.”

Weekes said his business handles from 40,000 to 50,000 cattle a year, trading between 40 and 50 million dollars annually. “We have about 2,000 customers a year and much of that money is spent right here,” he said. “As members of the community, we also support fireworks displays, the county fair and a lot of other activities.”

Council member Larry Gibbs apologized, saying there’s been some misunderstanding of the city’s intent in proposing the area be rezoned. “What we’re hoping to do is clean up some of the properties on each side of 10th Street between Country Club Road and the railroad tracks,” Gibbs said. “There are a lot of properties already there that don’t need Heavy Industrial zoning. What we’re trying to do with the zoning change is to prevent something undesirable from going there in the future.”

Del Weber of Midwest Auto Supply said the map he received that outlined the potential rezoning areas was different from what is now being proposed. The Gering Planning Commission was to discuss the changes at its June meeting, but a quorum of members was not available to hold the meeting and was postponed until July.

“What you’re doing is wrong,” Weber told the council. “How do you promote business growth if zoning prevents a company from expanding or sell the land for the use it is? The future is not bright.”

Gibbs said the city has tried to clean up North 10th Street for 30 years. “If we had a little effort from the business owners in that area, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

At that time, City Administrator Lane Danielzuk had to loudly declare a point of order – twice. “This is not the public hearing for this,” he said. “This is not the place or the time. The process is that it first goes to the Planning Commission. If the council wants to change their recommendation, the council can do that. We’re not conducting the hearing tonight. We’re in violation of state statue and city codes by doing this.”

The Planning Commission will discuss the proposed zoning change at its next meeting on July 15 at 6 p.m. in city hall.
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