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Council rescinds previous zoning change
April 16, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Members of the Gering City Council voted unanimously to rescind its previous zoning change to heavy industrial on the east end of M Street.

At its March 9 meeting, council changed the area’s zoning from light industrial to heavy industrial to allow for the relocation of Rich’s Wrecking and Used Cars to 210 M St. The Planning Commission had previously approved the change.

At Monday’s council meeting, members rescinded to change, keeping the area zoned light industrial. Rich’s Wrecking and two other businesses were affected by the action.

City Engineer Paul Snarr recommended the existing zoning be amended to permit wrecking yards when located inside a building or wholly enclosed by a well-maintained fence no less than eight feet high.
Snarr also recommended a BHC, business and highway commercial, zoning overlay of the area. He told council the overlay would better meet the zoning of the existing businesses and would also control future development set forth in the comprehensive plan.

Snarr added the current comprehensive plan has been in place for almost 20 years and is due to be revised in the near future.
William Vaughan, owner of nearby Evergreen Estates Manufactured Home Community, asked the city to abide by the comprehensive plan as it is now, rather than in the future.

“Highway 92 (M Street) is a gateway to the city on the historic Oregon Trail,” he said. “Industrial zoning will discourage businesses like hotels from locating here.”

Dick Ross, chairman of the Planning Commission, said he was confused by the discussion. “If we had known that light manufacturing would have allowed for Rich’s Wrecking, we could have saved a lot of people a lot of time. There wouldn’t have been a need for a zoning change in the first place.”

Ross also asked why a BHC overlay was necessary if the business is allowed under light manufacturing zoning.

Snarr said no one’s time was wasted. One of the businesses, Murphy Tractor, is better suited the BHC because it is primarily involved in sales and service.

The proposed changes now go to the Planning Commission for consideration.

Vaughan was asked whether the change was satisfactory to him. “I would prefer that everything stay like it is there,” he said.
Steve Eich, owner of Rich’s Wrecking, later said the process has been frustrating and is costing him time. But in the end, the city has to take the time to get it right. “I’m trying to be patient with the city so they can get things the way they need to be. In the end, I hope everything works out.”

Council members also unanimously approved a new ordinance regulating the use of bounce houses in city property. The devices have recently become more popular for parties.

Under the ordinance, the user would have to submit a special event permit for the event no less than 30 days prior. This gives the city time to mark any underground lines to be avoided in setting up the devices. Bounce houses would also have to be rented from a company that has liability insurance on file with the city.

Adult supervision would be required for their use and bounce houses may not remain in city parks overnight.
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