|City puts rezoning on hold|
|June 26, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
At their June 25 meeting, members of the Gering Public Works Committee unanimously recommended the city put on hold proposed zoning changes for the 10th Street corridor.
The initial proposal, floated earlier this month, would have rezoned the corridor from U Street to Country Club Road from Heavy Industrial and Manufacturing to Business and Highway Commercial.
But after a map of the proposed area was sent out to business owners along the route, changes were made to only consider some sections of the corridor. That brought out strong objections from some of those business owners who said the zoning change would devalue their properties, make it impossible to expand and also make it impossible for them to sell their businesses for their intended purpose.
City Council member Larry Gibbs, who also chairs the Public Works Committee, said initial maps to rezone the entire corridor weren’t accurate. He stated his idea was to only consider rezoning the area on 10th Street south of Country Club Road, now that the former Packerland plant has been torn down.
Rawnda Pierce, executive director of Twin Cities Development, said that industrial zoning is needed along 10th Street. “We have economic development consultants looking at the area,” she said. “We also have a potential Brownfield assessment grant where part of the money can be used for planning. I think it’s premature to rezone this are until we have more information.”
Gering Mayor Ed Mayo said he’s impressed with the early work he’s seen from the economic development study being done in the area. He added Gering should wait until the study is completed and then look at its recommendations, which should be sometime in September.
Gibbs said proposed changes in zoning were one way to address complaints about the lack of landscaping along 10th Street. Many areas are just open gravel lots, which he said is unattractive for the city’s northern gateway. It’s also a problem the city has been trying to address for at least the past 25 years.
After the meeting, Pierce said she thought there a lot of things that could be done without rezoning the entire corridor.
“Landscaping can make a big difference in industrial or commercial areas,” she said. “If that’s the issue, the city can put an investment into a landscaping plan. We have professionals looking at the area, so let’s see what they say and take the time to do this right.”
Committee members agreed the proposal should be put on hold and the item removed from the agenda at the next meeting of the Planning Commission on July 15.