Marshall City Council discusses rezoning project, hears concerns from citizens

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

On Monday, Aug. 7, the Marshall City Council held its regular meeting and heard comments regarding a rezoning project for south of Marshall.

In the absence of Mayor Mark Gooden, Mayor Pro Tem Charles Guthrey opened the meeting and introduced a public hearing on the matter. The project was requested by Douglas Swinger of Clark Investments LLC to rezone a tract of 26.6 acres of land between South Odell Avenue and South Highway 65. The area would be rezoned from a C-2 Highway Business to I-L Light Industrial.

According to information provided by City Clerk Julie Lewis, a C-2 Highway Business District is to “provide commercial locations for uses which serve as a convenience to the traveler, require large areas of land or require convenient access to all parts of the community in order to have efficient operation.” Some usage regulations for a C-2 zone are car and truck sales and service, bakeries and pastry shops, banks and other lending institutions, bowling and recreational buildings, and car washes.

Rezoning the area to I-L Light Industrial District is to allow “certain industrial uses which do not create obnoxious sounds, glare, dust or odor. Height and land coverage are controlled to insure compatibility with adjoining uses,” according to the information provided by Lewis. Animal hospitals and clinics, auto repair and body shops, bakeries, book binders, canning or preserving factories, dry cleaning and/or laundry plants, and machinery sales, service repairs, painting and storage are some of the usage regulations for an I-L zone.

Guthrey opened the floor for questions or comments from the audience. Resident Phil Perkins expressed his concern about rezoning the area before knowing what is going to be there.

“I feel like if we rezone it to light industrial that there’s a lot of options there that we may not want as the face of Marshall,” Perkins said. “So my concern with it is that triangle is the face of Marshall, and we want to keep it as nice as possible.” He added that we (as a city) should wait on taking any action until the city knows exactly what is coming in.

Another resident, Bob Robinson, spoke and said he was for the change.

“This does mean jobs. Marshall’s not going to grow unless we have jobs. I’m all for it,” Robinson said.

As the residents brought up their concerns and questions about the project, it appeared the focus of the concerns was not knowing what is potentially coming in. A majority seemed they approved the project if it was for the benefit of Marshall and provided good change and jobs.

Ward I Councilman Ron Ott, who was not in attendance but spoke by video conference, said the council needs to find out more about this project but as long as proper procedures are followed, this would be something to consider.

“We definitely need to consider this and not react too quick on it either way,” Ott said. “Sixteen months ago when myself and some other new council members was elected, we wanted more transparency and more cooperation between different organizations within the community. I would suggest to not move too fast until we get more answers.”

City Administrator David Haugland said they have been in contact with Mr. Swinger and said he will most likely not be available until the Sept. 5 meeting to be able to put it on the agenda and discuss it.

Guthrey made a last comment and said everyone seems to pretty much have the same concerns and agreed it is something to consider.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 21. Potentially, the council will discuss this rezoning issue further with Swisher on Tuesday, Sept. 5, due to Sept. 4 being Labor Day.

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