Zoning Ordinance Prompts Debate At City Council
By Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News
Oskaloosa, Iowa – A zoning ordinance took center stage at the Oskaloosa City Council on Monday night.
The council approved the second reading of an ordinance that rezones the property at 214 Highway 432 from “mixed use urban corridor with a avenue commercial corridor overlay (UC/AV)” district to “general commercial (GC)” district with a 4-2 vote. Kelly Bryan requested the rezoning of the property. This change would allow him to open a facility that sells seeds to agricultural businesses.
Councilmen Jason Van Zetten voted against the ordinance. Councilman Doug Yates did not attend the meeting.
“Again, I want to see you be successful and I don’t want to see this come here, but part of me feels like this spits in the face of a lot of businesses that have been established here. What about the people that looked at this and said, ‘you know what, my business isn’t going to go here’?” Van Zetten said. “So I build my facility somewhere else, and because of that, I wasn’t able to locate there. I did what I was supposed to do, I followed the rules, and then you have somebody that comes in, and again, this isn’t a shot at you. You don’t do the research, you come in, and then you say, ‘alright, we’re going to waive everything because he didn’t follow the rules.’”
Councilman Aaron Ver Steeg had a different take on the issue.
“If we vote to rezone this tonight (Monday), he still has to go to Planning and Zoning (Commission) with anything he wants to build there, right?” Ver Steeg said. After City Manager Michael Schrock said “yes,” Ver Steeg also added: “What’s the big deal? I would say give him all three readings, let him go to work.”
After a 20-minute discussion, the ordinance passed.
The council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that amends Chapter 17.28 of the city code in regards to off-street parking for recreational and personal vehicles. Some of the amendments include:
- Changing the allowed height of an RV on a property from eight feet to 13 feet and six inches
- Changing the allowed length of an RV on a property from 25 feet to no restriction
- Adding gravel and crushed stone as surfaces where an RV can be parked on a property
- This only applies to campers; heavy commercial vehicles can still only be parked on a property’s hard surface
In addition to that, the council unanimously approved two resolutions: to schedule a public hearing on the vacation and sale of 120′ by 16.5′ of the East-West public alley adjacent to 413 North A Street and to schedule a public hearing for Oct. 21 to consider levying a special assessment against private property for weed cutting.
Schrock gave an update on the fire station project, and talked about option four. In an interview with CRI in August, Shrock said:
“Option four is if the fire department located completely off-site. The council’s question to us as staff is, if we developed a new facility, what would that look like, how much would that cost. The architect estimated about $3.4 million for that new facility, and it would accommodate the needs of the fire department. The nice thing about it is we could scale it up or scale it down to incorporate other users, (such as the Emergency Management Agency).”
Schrock and staff met with an architect to discuss where the fire station could potentially be located off-site. If the station is moved off-site, there would have to be land acquisition. Schrock said not all property owners have been contacted yet, but he plans on reaching out to all of them.
Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt announced vacancies on the Building Code Board of Appeals and the Mahaska County Solid Waste Management Commission and Ad Hoc Recycling Committee. Library Director William Ottens also presented the council with an annual report.
The council went into closed session under Iowa Code Section 21.5.1.j to discuss the purchase of real estate. No action was taken after the session.
The next City Council meeting is slated for Oct. 7 at 6 p.m.