My Prepared Comments from 8/3 Council Meeting

by Don on August 3, 2010

in About North Platte, City Council

By rezoning this property the City will receive about twice the property tax it receives from this property zoned as residential. With a stroke of a pen the owner’s property tax will most likely go from $1,233 to $2,466 each year. The City’s revenue would increase about $3,800 over a 15-year period. I must assume the applicant is aware of and planned for the increased cost that a change in zoning will cause.

Relevant to this body is the policy issue. We agree that it is OK or acceptable to zone property for the good of the community. I own property but I can only use it in specific ways.

The principle used by the Council in deciding is, “What’s good for North Platte?” Is this action I’m about to vote on Good for North Platte? Is it good for the community? We’ve agreed it is possible for the good of the community to overshadow individual’s rights to use property they own in a specific way.

So when voting on the zoning question the issue is, how is this change in zoning good for North Platte? It’s clearly not enough to say the owner wants it. We have a higher standard.

  • Do we need the jobs? Jobs are already here? No new jobs have been promised.
  • Do we need more commercial property? If we do, is this the best place for the city? I’ve identified at least three vacant properties within a several blocks of this property. I know there are more.
  • By increasing the pool of commercial, specifically B-2 Highway Commercial property we have in fact reduced the value of all commercial property in the Downtown area. It is simple supply and demand.

During our recent retreat we named as the second priority, “Revitalization of the downtown.” The action the body is about to take tonight is in direct opposition to the commitment we made at the retreat by increasing the supply of commercial property. Why revitalize downtown when we can simply increase the supply of commercial property with the stroke of a pen and increase a revenue stream as well.

The current Comprehensive plan says:

“Commercial land usage in North Platte totals an estimated 674.4 acres. This amount is 11 percent more than the planning standard for commercial land area; 2.4 acres per 100 people. (North Platte Community Comprehensive Plan- 2010 Chapter 4 4.18)”

If we have, and I know this report is old, an 11 percent glut in Commercial Property how is it in the best interest of North Platte to add more commercial property?

The argument has been put forth in the meeting agenda book before us the property is across the street from a dentist office and hotel. What precedents does this standard establish?

Consider for a moment: I own property on the South side of West A Street in the 1700 or 1800 block. I come to you for a change in the zoning. And I argue, There is a DR office and a Bank, grocery story and oh my, a liquor store across the street. What’s to stop us from rezoning this property? It was done on S Bailey, why is this property different.

We are creating a zoning patchwork that is not in the best interest of the community of North Platte.  With vacant commercial property in the Downtown area why would we act in a way to increase the glut of commercial property at the expense of residential property?

When is it enough?

B-2 HIGHWAY COMMERCIAL DISTRICT

§ 156.195 GENERALLY.

The B-2 Highway Commercial District is intended for the purpose of servicing highway travelers and local residents with automotive related uses or commercial uses at higher densities generally accessed by motor vehicles. The regulations set forth in this subchapter, or set forth elsewhere in this chapter when referred to in this subchapter are the regulations in the B-2 Business District. (Prior Code, § 56-301) (Am. Ord. of 12-4-2001)

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