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home : local news : local news May 26, 2016

5/20/2013 8:36:00 AM
City looks at 'conditional zoning' for businesses
West Main site spurs discussion on commercial development.
The possibility of unintended businesses appearing in residential areas dominated Tuesday's Robinson City Council meeting.

The current issue is the site for a proposed nail salon at 1507 W. Main. Although rezoned from a residential RS-65 classification to a commercial C-3 with the intention of building the salon, the changed zoning allows any of a number of business types in that location.

This issue extends beyond the nail salon, as other businesses have also requested rezoning parts of residential areas to commercial.

Mayor Roger Pethtel said he is concerned that a rezoning at that site and others could see an unwanted business come in.

Alderman Barbara Alexander said placing more qualifications on new zoning will discourage new businesses, as they would need to come to the council repeatedly for approval.

The council voted 5-3 to have the city attorney draw up a tentative ordinance for conditional zoning. Aldermen Alexander, John Birkofer and Lon Smith voted "no."

City Attorney Frank Weber said he will need to examine the relevant codes, as historically the courts have been restrictive in the ability of local governments to selectively limit businesses.

The version the council requested would be conditional. Under that plan, the zoning would only change if the requested business actually begins operation. Otherwise the zoning would revert to whatever the previous zoning was.

Weber will present that possible ordinance at the next council meeting for discussion.

The city is also considering condemning several properties. The properties under consideration are 707 S. Cross, a six-unit apartment; 209 W. Walnut, a former hospital that was converted to apartments; 509 W. Chestnut, a four-unit apartment; and 608 S. Howard, a house.

The council also approved several purchases.

The diving boards at the City Park pool will be replaced with ones purchased at $1,000, $2,500 below the normal price. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Shimer said the current boards are slick, unsafe and more than 20 years old. The council has been trying to buy a set for years, he said, but the price was never reasonable. Since this was not a budgeted item this year, the purchase came out of the emergency fund.

The pool will also see three new 12-foot umbrellas installed at a total cost of $7,872. These are the type seen at water parks, Shimer said, and are capable of standing up to 80 mph winds.

The pool also received $300 in petty cash for the concession stands.

Shimer said the pool will open on Memorial Day.

The city is making what Shimer said will be the necessary upgrade to return the batting cages to full operation.

They ordered new elevators for $3,500. Alderman Gene Sinclair asked if that purchase will ensure the cages are working. Shimer said the only other likely problem would be in the wiring system, and the parks department can take care of that if needed.

The department will finish placing the new mulch in the parks for $4,500. It will also hire a contractor to replace the asphalt pad at the girls' softball concession stand with concrete for $2,500.

The police department will pay $1,020 for training fees.

The wastewater treatment facility received approval to buy an electric generator for $999. This model is much smaller and easier to maneuver than the current 1990s vintage generator, said Public Works Superintendent Lawrence Quick.

In order to provide the appropriate type and amount of electricity to the industrial park, the city will pay Ameren $13,298 for work at the Mulberry Street lift station. Smith, an Ameren employee, abstained from the vote.

The Jefferson Street Bridge is nearing completion, said City Engineer Jeff Hillard. The company working still needs to pour concrete, but should be done by Friday. Before it opens there is one last step. A company will come in to install bike railing, he said.

The council went out for bids for three park items - roof replacement for the Washington Park clubhouse and interior door work and air conditioning for the Depot fitness center.

The air conditioning, expected to cost $25,000, drew "no" votes from Russel Snider and Troy Pinkston.

The other votes were unanimous.

They also request bids for relining 1,200 feet of sanitary sewer.

The city will also send a sewer line extension and install an access hole on the north side of Main Street in the Smith subdivision for potential expansion.

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