- Published on 26 June 2012
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by Andy McCallister
The Crete News;
Following two public hearings at its monthly meeting Monday night at City Hall, the Crete Planning Commission forwarded a recommendation to deny a zoning change to the City Council and put its approval on a newly-drafted sign ordinance.
Local property developer and landlord Blaine Spanjer appeared at the first of the two hearings to present his request to have the zoning on two half-lots northeast of the intersection of 18th and Grove changed from R-2 (residential) to C-3 (commercial).
Spanjer, who owns other lots on the block, indicated that the change would make the lots in question contiguous, from a zoning perspective, with lots to the north leading to Highway 33.
He said that the lots weren’t buildable for residential structures due to insufficient frontage but added that he might construct a shop on the back of the lot if zoning approval went through.
Jerry Younger, who owns a home at 1810 Grove, spoke against the prospective change in zoning, voicing a concern that his would be the only home on the block next to a C-3 zoned tract.
Younger also cited concerns of increased traffic flow and decreased residential property values that further commercial development might bring to the area. He said that the streets carry considerable school traffic already as well as traffic moving through from businesses along the highway.
He added that he had attempted to purchase the lots in question in an attempt to keep more of the block zoned R-2, but had been unsuccessful.
“With zoning questions we’ve had along the highway, and this isn’t the first or last time this has come up,” Commission Chairman Dave Hansen said, “we’ve tried to keep a buffer area.”
Commissioners Sharon Scusa and Scott Kuncl also shared their concerns about leaving something of a buffer zone between existing residential and commercial lots.
Ryan Jindra countered that it would continue to be difficult for the city to attract commercial development without lots on which to build.
On a commission vote to recommend that the City Council deny the zoning change, there were seven in favor with one abstention. The recommendation now proceeds to the council, which could overturn or endorse the commission’s recommendation.
In the second hearing of the night, the commission unanimously recommended that the council adopt an ordinance dealing with all types of signage.
Based on an ordinance recently adopted in Seward, the measure would give commercial interests better guidance on the types of signage permitted and enhance enforcement concerns that have cropped up in recent years.
“This is a much better-defined ordinance than the one we had before,” commission member Janet Bonneau said.
Crete Building Inspector Ray Sueper said the ordinance the new one would replace was filled with loopholes and made it difficult to prohibit any kind of signage.
The commission unanimously forwarded its approval on the new ordinance to the council, which will take up the issue in an upcoming meeting.
The next meeting of the Planning Commission was set for July 30, one week later than its usual fourth Monday date, due to vacation conflicts involving commission members.