An audience of 18 showed for the December 4 meeting of the Centralia Planning and zoning Commission.
The evening included a public hearing on Betty Gooding’s request for a conditional use permit to operate a vacation rental by owner residence on South Jefferson St. Other than a e-mailed in comment of approval from Jim Lee, there was no comment regarding the three-bedroom business.
The commissioners unanimously approved the request.
From there they moved on to three separate rezoning requests from Darren Adams.
For that, there was plenty of public comment, starting with Brenda Moss’ slide show titled “No Spot Zoning in Centralia.”
After spirited discussion from Moss and others, the commission declined to send an “approve” recommendation to the Centralia Board of Aldermen.
Heather Russell, Centralia city administrator, later told the Fireside Guard the vote was not a vote against development or contrary to the city government’s desire to be “business-friendly.”
“No, this is not the city being anti-development. This is an example of the city listening to the needs or the area’s residents,” Russell said, “and also being mindful of the pitfalls of spot-zoning.”
Moss said it would “open a can of worms, set precedent, you might as well not even have R-1, R-2 and R-3 zoning.”
Moss cited a portion of the city code that states if 37 percent of the residents in such areas signed petitions against such rezoning a 2/3 vote of the board of aldermen is required to pass such a proposal.
She and Centralia resident Jim Ross said that if the proposal passed, an already-crowded street situation “would just get worse… You would be parking in the ditch.” She also reminded the commissioners there are no sidewalks or curb and gutter on Alco Street and Southwest Circle.
She also reminded the commissioners of the goals of the city’s recently re-written comprehensive plan “ I don’t think anybody here really wants duplexes or townhouses going up the streets across from them.”
For the complete article, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.