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September 21, 2023

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City council divided on land-use plan

The city council was divided Monday night after the city’s future land-use plan

was passed.

The meeting started at 7 p.m. with Mayor Richard Edwards awarding the steering committee for a job well done on the land-use plan.

“For me, I’ve been working with the group and seen process over the years,” Edwards said. “After a while, the group started to jump into action, which speaks well for the progress

here today.”

The committee, consisting of both citizens and faculty from the University, such as Vice President for Student Affairs Jill Carr and Vice President for Capital Planning Steven Krakoff, received pins and applause from the audience.

However, one legislation brought before the council caused a stir.

North of the city, there is a 21-acre piece of land that has five separate buildings occupied by different businesses. The property owner recently applied to be annexed into the city, which was required because the adjacent property became annexed.

The council had to make a decision whether to annex the land or deny the annex.

President of city council Mike Aspacher said the conflict came because the land-use plan stressed the importance of focusing on the “core” of the city rather than the outskirts.

“There was concern that by passing the annex, it would compromise the new plan,” he said.

The annex was approved by a vote of 4-3.

Theresa Gavarone, ward four, voted to approve the annex.

She said she went through the land-use update with the city’s police and fire division and both approved

the annex.

“By annexing, we will have control of improvements with the gateway into the city,” Gavarone said.

Aspacher also approved the decision and said that if they denied the annexation now, the property owner would not be obligated to apply for annexation again and the city would have lost the opportunity to gain

the land.

“I support it,” he said. “There is more risk not gaining the property versus not taking it.”

John Zanfardino, ward two, disagreed with the decision to annex the property.

“If we begin to think through the plan, it’s not a good thing to do right now,” he said. “It’s not seen at the core of the city. I think the gateway won’t get improved with this, at least not for a while.”

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