The Ottumwa Courier

May 4, 2013

Vet clinic rezoning to see second hearing

By CHELSEA DAVIS Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — The second step in rezoning the Ottumwa Veterinary Clinic brings it that much closer to becoming a “retail business district.”

At the City Council’s meeting Tuesday, the council will consider the second reading of an ordinance to rezone the clinic, 2305 N. Court St., from R-1 Single Family Residential to C-1 Retail Business District.

At the council’s April 16 meeting, the first reading of the ordinance was unanimously approved, upsetting the clinic’s neighbors.

The clinic’s longstanding residential zone means it’s not allowed to change its footprint, therefore the clinic cannot physically expand.

Dr. Steve Menke was met with unhappy neighbors at the April meeting, the majority of whom said the chance of the clinic leaving and other, unwanted businesses moving in was too big a risk.

“A question that has come up after the meeting is if they were not to redevelop at that location, what other uses could come in there under the legal non-conforming use?” said Planning Director Dave Shafer. “Subject to a legal conditional use permit, another C-1 could come in, but they can’t change the footprint of the building.”

Shafer said the clinic’s request to rezone is so it can upgrade and expand to secure more office space, instead of relocating.

At the first reading, neighbor Jane Fritz said rezoning opens up the area to “too many problems.”

“There is no guarantee it will remain the business it says it will be,” she said. “There is no guarantee it will be a quiet business that blends into this residential district.”

But under its current R-1 zone, Shafer said other businesses could move in if the clinic were to relocate, “subject to the approval of a conditional use permit.”

Any business would have to first apply to the planning and zoning commission, who would then make a recommendation to the zoning board of adjustment, who would then hold a public hearing.

“If Ottumwa Veterinary Clinic were to vacate that property and if someone else were to come in within a year, they could apply for a conditional use permit for another type of retail use as it stands right now within the existing footprint of the structure,” Shafer said.

The council will also:

• Hold a public hearing on the status of the $513,000 Community Development Block Grant the city received for the $1.1 million sewer separation project on the area between Kettle Creek and Richmond Avenue, Ferry Street and Chester Avenue. Approximately 90 percent of the project is finished.

• Vote to approve the Ashpalt Street Repair Program 2013, which will place overlays on 10 streets and alleys throughout the city, totaling nearly $880,000.

The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall. The meeting will air live on GO-TV, cable channel 6.