City council members remain at odds over rezoning recommendation
For the second time in two months, discussion among Baldwin City Council members about rezoning a property on U.S. Highway 56 became heated.
On Monday, Council member Ted Brecheisen was once again passionate about the property at 913 Ames St. In October, Brecheisen raised his voice after becoming agitated by a comment from Council member Robin Bayer.
On Monday, Brecheisen defended the Baldwin City Planning Commission and its recommendation to rezone the property from commercial to singe-family residential.
“We asked the planning commission to take another look at this issue, and they did just that,” Brecheisen said. “They came back with the same recommendation. If we do change it to residential, it can be changed back to commercial at a later date.”
Brecheisen and Councilman Tom Farmer agreed on the issue. They both stated that if the planning commission made the recommendation, they would let it pass.
However, Bayer remained opposed. He wanted a better explanation from planning commission than he got from the group. He said planners said the market should dictate how the property is zoned.
Council members Mike Magers and Bonnie Plumberg also remained opposed.
“On a personal level, I’d like to approve this, because I’ve also been trying to sell a piece of property along the highway,” Magers said. “However, I can’t do that. If we do this, we will have six or seven other people wanting to change their property from commercial to residential on the same stretch of road. If we do this, I don’t know how we can say no to anybody.”
The discussion got heated when Plumberg asked Brecheisen why he would approve the recommendation.
“Because I trust these people,” he said of the planning commission. “I sometimes wonder if people have faith in anybody anymore.”
Mayor Ken Wagner stopped the debate, saying it was obvious no opinions would change.
The issue remained unresolved when the council voted to table the topic and invite the planning commission to the next meeting to discuss the rezoning. The vote passed 3-2 with Farmer, Magers and Brecheisen voting for it, and Plumberg and Bayer opposing the motion.
The next City Council meeting is Dec. 20.