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September 21, 2023

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City council delays rezoning vote, to consider specifics of proposed ordinance

City council will host a public hearing tonight so residents can voice their opinions about the controversial rezoning of land at the corner of Wooster and Prospect Streets.

While residents will be able to voice their opinions at the 6 p.m. hearing, the council likely won’t vote on the B-3 or B-5 zoning ordinances at its 7 p.m. meeting at the City Administrative Services Building. The delay of voting comes as the City’s Planning Commission decided to further examine the proposed ordinances, which will delay it’s proposal about the project to council.

While the delay may push a final decision back to city council’s February meeting, some residents and council members are happy about the delay.

“The residents believe we need to take great care of this one,” said Daniel Gordon, a councilmember who represents the residents of the area being rezoned. “I’m not going to support or uphold anything that doesn’t have their input involved.”

Residents have been asking for more time to consider the ordinance’s specifics since it was introduced to council on Oct. 15, 2012.

Gordon supports residents who have asked the city to slow down the passing of the ordinance in order to consider specifics of the proposed ordinances. Specifics include potential buffer areas around what would be the newly rezoned sites, number of floors and what business can be included in the new spaces.

“I’m glad the process has been slowed down,” Gordon said. “Anything we can do to boost the inclusion of everyone’s thoughts and opinions is a good thing.”

Now that the process has been “slowed down,” the Planning Commission will announce its recommendation to council at its newly scheduled meeting Jan. 16, said Planning Commission Chair Ryan Holley during the Jan. 2 meeting.

In the mean time, the commission is dividing into a committee of five members who are looking at all of the proposals residents spoke about at previous city council meetings and planning commission meetings.

Proposed in recent meetings, the B-3 zoning for the land would allow for a complex to be built that would prohibit any ground floor apartments while the B-5 zoning ordinance would allow for a complex to be built that would also only allow for apartments on the second floor but would also prevent the complex from being built taller than two stories, according to a record of ordinances from the city.

Residents like Neocles Leonitis have even taken the extra time to hire an attorney to represent the interests of the people living near the intersection of Prospect and Wooster Streets.

“We want to make these ordinances useful for the whole community,” Leonitis said during the Planning Commission meeting.

Similar to Leonitis, Gordon hopes the commission and council will strongly consider the concerns brought forth by the people he represents.

“I’m hopeful that council will listen to the recommendations of the planning commission,” Gordon said. “The residents are very protective about where they live and want to see it thrive and prosper just like I do.”

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