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Gering approves 10th St. zoning
January 29, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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After almost an hour of discussion and public comment on Monday, members of the Gering City Council approved a zoning overlay along the 10th Street corridor that allows for either heavy and light industrial use or business and highway commercial use.

An overlay identifies residential, business and industrial areas, for example.

The overlay in Gering runs along 10th Street from the Union Pacific railroad tracks to Country Club Road, and east from the tracks to 7th Street.

According to Gering City Engineer Paul Snarr, most businesses along 10th Street do not comply with the existing heavy and light industrial zoning. The overlay would ensure zoning compliance for all properties according to the city’s 1995 comprehensive plan. The modification would also make the area compatible with the business and commercial districts to both the north and south.

Some initial opposition was voiced by Dell Weber, owner of Midwest Auto Supply, although he supported the overlay in principle.

He said some of the language in the proposed ordinance was vague and he wanted to make sure any language would protect existing businesses from the new zoning overlay.

“We’re not changing the existing zoning,” said Gering Mayor Tony Kaufman. “The existing zoning will stay in place on existing properties. We can’t afford to abandon some of the city’s core businesses that have made the community strong.”

Kaufman said the overlay will provide a dual purpose for future property development, such as the old Packerland property at 10th and Country Club. The Packerland property is currently zoned for heavy and light industrial. The modification would allow for a commercial business such as gas stations to build there.

The Gering Planning Commission had met in January and members split 4-4 on whether to recommend the zoning overlay to the full council. Paul Marietta was one of the members who voted against recommendation.

“I think it’s too vague to just say we’re going to do an overlay,” Marietta told the council. “You’re broadening rather than restricting the zoning. Every class of zoning always restricts property to a specific use. For me, it goes beyond common sense to say we’ll have two classes of zoning for the same piece of land.”

Gering City Administrator Lane Danielzuk read several items into the record, including a definition from the Nebraska Planning Handbook that allows for overlay zones where new zoning regulations are added to existing zoning.

After the meeting, Weber said he was satisfied the proposed overlay zoning would have no impact on his and other existing businesses along the 10th Street corridor.

The proposal must now be drafted into an ordinance for council consideration.

In other action, Gering Street Superintendent Casey Dahlgrin unveiled the city’s one and six-year street plans. For the 2016 construction season, the city plans four projects which should cost about $1.4 million. They include complete replacement of Country Club Road from 7th to 10th Streets, Mark Drive, and 405 feet of 17th Street from Yucca Drive south. Street resurfacing will be done on Pacific Boulevard from the bridge north and on Kimball Avenue.

Council members also filed an approved contract with Norfolk based Environmental Services to remove six structures from the 10th and M streets area. The site is being prepared for the proposed Cobblestone Hotel in downtown Gering.

The $27,888 contract includes a waiver on all landfill fees. Gering must also provide a certified inspector to oversee removal of any asbestos.

Demolition work will begin on Feb. 1 and must be completed by Feb. 26.

Prior to the regular council meeting, members met as the City of Gering Leasing Corporation to elect new officers for the year. Council member Troy Cowan was elected president and Justin Allred as vice president. Pam O’Neal was elected treasurer, with City Treasurer John Mejia as an alternate. Council member Julie Morrison was elected secretary, with City Clerk Kathy Welfl as an alternate.
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