Residents react to Slabtown rezoning

Residents explain their frustrations regarding the possible rezoning to reporter Jamie Innis.

Many people who live near 101 North Madison Street said they were relieved when the planning commission resolved against a zoning change which would switch the lot from residential to commercial.

When residents found out city commissioners were still considering it, they wanted to make sure their voices were heard.

Monday night's meeting was crowded with people wanting to express their concerns. Public comment lasted for almost an hour.

When commissioners made it clear they were in support of the proposal, people started getting up to leave.

â??It seemed like their minds were already made up when we arrived,â?? said Barbara Solomonson, who lives three doors down from the proposed development. â??Although they were listening to everything, they really didn't hear what the concerns of the neighborhood were. I would love for it to be an empty space.â??

The lot is currently zoned as R1-b, a single family dwelling. The owner wants the land zoned as C1, as if it were part of an office service district.

Many lots of similar size within the neighborhood have one or two homes on them. According to the architect, three are currently permitted, but his plans require four.

â??At the present moment, he's proposing to put four, which really looks more like a condo development to me,â?? said Doug Stanton, who lives on Madison. â??Although they are separate units, they're not attached, they are tasteful, they're out of character with the neighborhood. It's a ten pound idea in a five pound can. We need to move it somewhere else.â??

While neighborhood aesthetics are a large concern for residents, safety is perhaps their largest issue.

Residents say the traffic is often backed up on Madison past the point where an alley would be placed for access to the houses.

â??[The safety issues] would be compounded, we feel, with the structures they're proposing,â?? said Jan Doran, who lives on Madison.

Residents are asking that a traffic study be done before any decisions are made because not only is it congested, it's becoming unsafe for pedestrians.

Commissioners will bring the ordinance amendment up for a vote at their May 5 meeting.