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W’bago OKs commercial buildings

By Staff | Jun 14, 2015

The Winnebago City Council gave the go ahead to start a construction project.

However, it took a little more than just asking permission. The council had to approve a zoning ordinance amendment so two residents could build commercial buildings in a residential area.

And it wasn’t without some opposition from homeowners in that area.

“I’m concerned about noise it’s already noisy from trucks going by. I moved down here for some peace and quiet,”?Winnebago resident Sandra Swanson said.

Her property is not directly impacted by the rezone, but she lives across from the area in discussion.

Swanson also stated she was worried that with the addition of commercial buildings in view from her home, it may negatively impact her property value.

“I don’t want a warehouse built across the street from me or to have an industrial area in a residential area,”?she added.

A rezoning was recently approved for Lawrence Sickler for a similar request. Since then, Craig Johnson and Darrell Robertson have requested to rezone properties on Block 40 in Winnebago to allow them to build commercial buildings.

“There are two houses in that area,”?city administrator Chris Ziegler said. “And to make the zoning district consistant and avoid spot zoning I think we should rezone the block.”

The houses in that area will be included as legal non-conforming uses and will be allowed to remain there.

“The houses could be fixed up, but couldn’t be enlarged,” he explained.

A public hearing regarding these two requests was held on May 27 when the planning commission heard the requests and feedback from residents.

“Several residents attended the public hearing and asked questions. One resident expressed opposition,”?Ziegler added. “However, the commissioner members weighed the pros and cons very seriously.”

One major positive to allowing the rezone to happen was added tax base from the new buildings.

“If we don’t allow that there would be no change and the tax base would remain the same,” the city administrator said.

Council member Dean Johnson responded to some of Swanson’s concerns.

“I would hope they (those requesting the rezone) would work with you and try to keep their property maintained,” he said.

With this area being located along Fourth Avenue SE already being a designated truck route, the recommendation for approval only seemed appropriate.

The council approved the zoning ordinance amendment to allow Johnson and Robertson to building commercial buildings for their businesses.

The input from Swanson was not the only feedback heard from the public during the council meeting last Tuesday. Cliff Marx was also in attendance to express his concerns about the level of communication between the city and it’s residents.

“I’m concerned, there’s not much information coming out to residents,” he said. “We need to get information out there.”

The council thanked him for his input and agreed that there is always room for improvement for open communication.

“The more communication there is, the more the community can get involved,”?council member Jean Anderson said. “It is a good idea to come up with ideas to keep everyone up to date.”

Johnson added that the thing he has gotten the most input about from the public was about mosquito spraying, which is another topic the council decided on last week.

“If there is one thing I hear it’s to hire someone to spray mosquitos,” he jokes.

However, with the approaching ‘Bago Fun Fest just a couple of weeks away, the city needed to find someone quickly who could do the work for them.

“Josh More will no longer be doing mosquito control,” Ziegler said.

So the utility committee recommended hiring the company used by the city of Blue Earth, Mosquito Control of Iowa.

“I talked to Tim Ibisch and he says they are really happy with the company so far,”?he said.

Rich Welter of Mosquito Control of Iowa attended the last Utility meeting and proposed a full-season approach rather than just spraying prior to major events as the city had been doing in the past.

He presented a four-year contract at $6,250 per year with 2015 being just $3,125.