Planning Commission Continues Comprehensive Plan Discussion

(Our thanks to Terry Bailey for contributing with the story)

The Beloit City Planning Commission met Tuesday evening to reconsider the comprehensive plan study including the three-mile zoning issue. At their last meeting, the member voted not to forward the comprehensive plan to the city council without certain revisions and changes in some of the language in the document.

Chairperson Cheryl Renter was present as well as the rest of the planning commission including: Andrew Grabon, Kathy Roberts, Greg Drum, and Nick Richmond. City Attorney Katie Schroeder, City Administrator Glenn Rodden, and Office Clerk Shelli Anderson were also present. A crow that approached 50 concerned citizens was also on hand to participate in the discussion.

When Renter called the meeting to order, she announced the purpose of the meeting was for the commission to discuss necessary changes in some of the language in the plan and other clarifying actions. She stated that the meeting was not one for public input or discussion and that such a meeting would be held at a later date once the planning commission made the necessary revisions before them.

Commission member Andrew Grabon stated that at the last meeting there were certain passages of wording that were unclear or unspecific and asked if those had been addressed. City Attorney Katie Schroeder addressed each of the items in question and offered new wording to correct any misunderstandings. Her suggestions met with everyone’s approval and the first hurdle was clear.

Minor changes were made to map references and vacant agricultural usage was discussed.

Grabon asked if the comprehensive plan could be passed and on to the city council without the part about three-mile zoning. Renter said that zoning capability had been available to the city for 30-40 years adding that she couldn’t remember a problem with the plan up until now.

Grabon cited that the county commissioners had announced that if the city attempted to zone the land in question, they had the legal right to organize their own zoning ordinances and would definitely do so.

Commission member Kathy Roberts responded that they have not done anything before and there are no guarantees that they will do anything if the planning commission does what it wants.

Nick Richmond offered that the plan is just a safeguard.

Several other questions were posed about annexation, etc.

Commission member Greg Drum said that once jurisdiction is taken away from people, it is gone. Drum continued by stating that in this case it will be done by people for whom they had or will not have an opportunity to vote for or against.

Grabon made a motion to reduce the three-mile zoning to one mile. After the motion was seconded, a vote was called. Grabon and Drum voted in favor and Richmond, Renter, Roberts voted against and the motion failed.

The planning commission will zone additional areas only on an ‘as needed’ basis was offered in a motion. It passed 5-0.

Drum offered a friendly amendment to the motion adding, “At the land owner’s request.” The motion failed.

The vote left the question of “who decides what is needed on an as-needed basis?” Commission member Richmond offered assurances that nobody had anything to be worried about.

The date for the public hearing to discuss the final revision of the comprehensive plan is May 12th at 7 p.m. Board member Andrew Grabon urged anyone with opinions on the issue to write them down and either mail or email them to members of the planning commission.

(Our thanks to Terry Bailey for contributing with the story)

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Dan Page is a young professional from the growing suburb of Derby, KS. He grew up playing just about any sport he could get his hands on. Dan knew he wanted to be in broadcasting in some form by the time he was in high school. After high school, he attended Butler Community College working with their Sports Media program and broadcast the 2008 NJCAA Football Championship in Sandy, Utah. After receiving a degree from Butler, Dan attended Kansas State University majoring in Journalism & Mass Communications. He has broadcast Kansas high school sports, junior college, and NCAA Division I athletics. Dan has won 14 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Awards for radio and television talents in the areas of News, Sports, and Production while working for KSDB and KMAN in Manhattan. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, playing basketball, exercising, and occasionally being a nerd.