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Spirit Lake City Council Denies Re-Zoning Request In Southern Hills Area

Wed 5-15-2019

(Spirit Lake)-- A public hearing on a re-zoning request drew a large crowd to Tuesday evening's Spirit Lake City Council meeting. The crowd overflowed the council chambers and went into an adjoining hallway.

At issue was a recommendation from the city's Planning and Zoning Commission for the council to approve rezoning some land south of the intersection of 36th Street and Pinewood Drive from R-1 single family residential to R-3 multi-family residential. The request was filed by developer Scott Nylen of West Okoboji Harbor, Incorporated. It drew opposition from residents in the area who cited concerns over safety, property values, traffic, aesthetics and other issues. John Sandy, also a resident of the neighborhood, said in his opinion the developer's request wasn't complete...Re-Zoning Flap01 

"If the council were to refer to Mr. Nylen's application that was submitted, the section requesting that he state a specific proposed use of the property's re-zoning request is left completely blank. The paragraph is just empty. He wrote nothing in it."

A number of other residents living in the area also spoke in opposition of the proposed re-zoning. Neither the developer or a representative of his was present or spoke in defense of the rezoning request.

Councilman Kevin Bice responded to the concerns...Re-Zoning Flap02 

"The gentleman also possesses two, maybe three, R-3 developments right now which have set idle. There's no effort in his part to do anything about it. They just sit there. I'm saying to myself why would we go about re-zoning, approving another one, and have that sit there?"

Other council members agreed. A motion to deny the re-zoning request, overriding the planning and zoning commission's recommendation, was then made and seconded. It passed unanimously with all five council members voting in favor.

City Attorney-Administrator Gregg Owens says any new rezoning application for the same property can't be filed for a year by the developer unless he has approval of 50% of the persons who signed the protest. Otherwise the matter could be pursued in district court if the the developer feels there was some legal issue surrounding the proceedings.