April 2013
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Zoning Commissioners apparently don’t understand rezoning process

At the last Zoning Commission meeting earlier this month, commissioners took an unorthodox approach to a simple request for rezoning, if the Journal Star’s description is accurate:

During its meeting Thursday [April 4], the Peoria Zoning Commission deferred a decision regarding the rezoning of 14 parcels of land located south of the Glen Hollow shopping center. The owner of the land, developer David Joseph, wants the zoning changed from single-family residential to large-scale commercial.

Joseph’s attorney said his client has no specific plans for the land along Farrelly and Glen avenues.

“We’ve got a lot of options from seriously interested tenants,” Bob Hall said. “Tenants aren’t willing to commit until such time as they have a better indication.”

Also apparently unwilling to commit until they have a better indication are commission members.

“If you’ve got tenants who want to know, you should be able to show us what you’re thinking about doing,” commissioner Tim Shea said to Hall.

Absent that, commissioners were unable to make an informed decision, according to Greg Hunziker, the group’s chairman.

“When you rezone, it’s a blanket — very broad-based,” he said. “We wanted a little more knowledge.”

It’s remarkable that many of these commissioners have been on the Zoning Commission for many years, and yet they display this profound ignorance of the rezoning process.

When you rezone a property, it doesn’t get zoned for a specific use. It gets zoned for potentially any use that is allowed under that zoning designation.

Under C2 (Large Scale Commercial) zoning, there are no less than 108 permitted uses (including new and used auto sales, auto repair, gas stations, ministorage, and convenience cash businesses). It makes no difference what plans Mr. Joseph may have for the use of this property right now. If it gets rezoned, any of those 108 permitted uses will be available to him — and to whomever he may choose to sell the property someday (subject to certain regulations and oversight, of course).

That’s why, on the Zoning Commission application, it specifically states that a site plan is not required for rezoning. The question before the Zoning Commission is not, “What tenant is Mr. Joseph pursuing for this property, and will that tenant fit well in this area?” The question is, “Is C2 zoning — and the intensity of all land uses permitted thereunder — appropriate for this area?”

The Zoning Commission is wasting the applicant’s time be requesting irrelevant and non-required information, and it’s being derelict in its duty to the residents by ignoring the larger question of whether the intensity of the proposed land use is appropriate for this section of the city.

3 comments to Zoning Commissioners apparently don’t understand rezoning process

  • Conrad Stinnett

    The ignorance of many Zoning Commission members is well –known. This is not the first time it has come up in The Peoria Chronicle. What do affected residents think? What concerns do they have? These rarely seem to be noted by commissioners. A study of Zoning Commission meeting minutes reveals that the body generally votes to support staff recommendations most of the time, a shoddy practice that ensures that the public interest is not well served.

  • Sterling

    I don’t think it’s out of line for the zoning commissioners to ask a developer what he plans to do with 14 tracts that are changing from SF residential to large scale commercial, especially if there are additional SF residential tracts nearby. Rezoning is a permanent change and will affect this neighborhood for years to come.

    The commissioners may be asking to see if some form of variance would be better suited (doubtful, considering the scale of the zoning change requested, but still on the table) rather than a permanent rezoning. Not to mention potential traffic impacts on the streets nearby to access this site.

  • Unless you want to put a resident home for older folks at an old Synod in the 2nd district. Then Zoning doesn’t matter.