Zoning changes will move aheadSecond public hearing brought fewer objections to proposed changes. Council will consider changes April 17.
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
There were far fewer people at Tuesday night’s public hearing on rezoning parts of Rosemount than there were at a similar hearing a month ago. But at least one person still objected to the planning commission’s move to rezone schools and churches to match the residential zones where they are located in.
The fairly quiet meeting was a big change from last month’s meeting. More than 100 people attended the meeting to speak out against changes to the city’s parks. The planning commission decided to drop parks from the proposed zoning changes.
During the public hearing on the issue, resident Kathy Klonecky stood before the planning commission and asked why they felt the need to make the zoning changes at all. She said the changes didn’t make sense and expressed concerns that the city’s motives were a sneaky way to clear the way for new facilities such as a high school.
The reasons behind the changes were explained, at least to the planning commission’s satisfaction, by city attorney Charlie LeFevere. LeFevere said the public/institutional zone currently used for churches and schools is somewhat suspect and open to challenge because there are very few private uses allowed in the district. Several cases have been seen in the courts and the city is acting to prevent any possible issues in the future. The cases that have been seen by the courts have involved golf courses, but LeFevere said it’s possible church and school properties could face the same issues because of the limited nature of the public and institutional zoning district.
If the council chooses to rezone the properties, school or church properties will remain their current use. If in the future the land is sold, whatever is built will have to be consistent with the residential zoning practices.
LeFevere said zoning churches and schools residential is fairly common. The affected churches and schools will be grandfathered in. Any future entities will need conditional use permits to build. Additionally, if any of the current churches or schools want to make improvements or add to their buildings they will have to meet the standards of the conditional use permitting process.
Commission chair John Powell said all of the schools and churches affected were informed of the changes and did not object.
The planning commission unanimously approved five recommendations to the council as part of the changes. The recommendations included revisions to performance standards in the Public and Institutional district; updates to performance standards in residential sections; updates to the sign ordinance for public and institutional uses; and moves the city’s churches and elementary schools into the proper land use categories.
In addition to the schools and churches, city hall, the Robert Trail Library and the Steeple Center will be rezoned to Downtown land use classification. And the CAP Agency will be rezoned to Neighborhood Commercial.
The council will consider the proposed changes at its April 17 meeting.