Main Street zoning change a no-go

MARSHALL – A group of properties on West Main Street won’t be rezoned as a limited business district, after a vote failed at Tuesday’s meeting of the Marshall City Council. A public hearing on the proposal drew comments split between supporting the city’s being proactive for development and questioning the need for a zoning change.

The proposal would have changed the zoning of several properties, mostly residences, along Main Street between 6th Street and the railroad tracks. The area is currently zoned for higher-density housing but with some properties vacant slated for demolition, Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said now would be an opportune time to rezone the properties to a limited business district.

The zoning change would not have an effect on property taxes for the homes, Olson said. But a house could not be torn down and rebuilt, or repaired if more than 50 percent of the building needed replacement.

Council member Mike Boedigheimer said the city has always been proactive in setting aside space for business and industry to grow. At some point, he said, the city will need to have more development downtown.

“It seems logical it would go along Main Street,” he said.

Members of the public said they weren’t against growth or business development on Main Street, but they weren’t as sure about the timing of the zoning change. Some local residents said they were concerned people would feel pressured to leave the area being rezoned.

Business owner Bill Ziegenhagen said the reason to change the zoning now would be if there was a developer or business moving into that area.

“I don’t think right now I can support this,” said council member Larry Doom. Instead, he said, “We need to upgrade the (city) comprehensive plan.”

Boedigheimer moved to approve the zoning change. The motion failed 4-3. Council members Boedigheimer, Ellayne Conyers and Jennie Hulsizer voted in favor of the motion.

A proposed ordinance change that would allow Marshall residents to keep limited numbers of poultry within city limits was brought before the council but died for lack of a motion.

Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the proposal had been brought before the city Legislative and Ordinance Committee, and Marshall resident Mike Dulas had spoken in favor of it. The proposed amendment would allow Marshall residents to keep a maximum of six chickens, ducks or geese. Roosters would not be allowed.

Martig said the L&O committee had voted 2-1 to bring the issue before the council. However, he said, “I’m not sure the two people who voted for it necessarily support it.”

Boedigheimer said it was clear that the committee could not come to a consensus on the issue, so members voted to bring it to the council for a decision. Conyers said committee members had also discussed possible amendments to the proposed ordinance reducing the number of fowl permissible and setting rules for their care and housing; but the proposal was ultimately left as it was.

“I would suggest we take no action and let it die,” Boedigheimer said of the proposal.

No action was taken.