Split Vote Approves Rezoning
February 15, 2019
The Sidney City Council Tuesday approved the rezoning of a 3.73 acre parcel on south 11th Avenue.
The change allows limited agricultural use, up to one animal per acre and up to 30 percent of the acreage used for buildings besides the primary house.
The decision did not come without extensive discussion among council members. At issue was what is the proper zoning for the acreage and how would the council's decision affect the neighboring landowners.
Vice-Mayor Joe Arterburn said as the hearing opened that he had a lot of questions about the proposal. The city attorney then explained the legal and physical characteristics of R1 and R1A zoning, the point of debate on the property. The discussion over the last three hearings has also included the historic zoning of the property. Chief Building Inspector Kevin Kubo said the zoning map in 2014 listed the area as R1, but there is no history explaining the zoning.
“I believe we have to look out for the best interests of the city,” Arterburn said.
He argued that the council needs to consider the impact on neighboring properties of changing the zoning on the 11th Avenue property. He said he is not convinced the request is in the best interest of the neighborhood. He said there is no precedent of animals on the land, referring to the request as “spot zoning.”
He said his concerns include the potential odor from animals, and impact of related insects.
Mayor Roger Gallaway said he agrees the council needs to represent the wishes of the entire city.
“I've heard from people on all sides of the issue,” he said.
He said he considers part of the conflict to be the City's responsibility because the property was not zoned when it was first annexed, therefore creating a problem for the future councils.
“I think it is fair to say everyone around it believed it was R1A,” Gallaway said.
He said anyone who bought property around the address should have seen the outbuildings and expected the potential for animals. The 3.73 acres has two outbuildings in addition to the main home.
John Phillips, who serves on the planning and zoning commission, said the commission discussed the proposal thoroughly and didn't see a problem. He did question if they had all of the information necessary.
“We just acted on the information in front of us,” Phillips said.
The council also admitted that regardless of the zoning decision, the City has nuisance ordinances in effect.
The council approved the request with Arterburn voting against, Burke Radcliffe abstaining, Gallaway, councilmen Brad Sherman and Bob Olson voting in support.