During their meeting Tuesday, Manhattan City Commissioners voted to approve two rezoning requests for residential districts.
The first request approved was from Midwest Concrete Materials to rezone their property at 407 Pottawatomie Avenue from low-density residential to business commercial to allow for construction of a training facility.
This request was previously denied recommendation from the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board and gathered significant pushback from neighboring property owners. Many felt it was most appropriate for the lot to remain residential and avaible for housing development.
Commissioner Linda Morse said this property has seen little interest and the proposed development is compatible with the area and even offers some aesthetic improvements.
Other concerned residents said this rezoning request is an example of spot zoning and is therefore illegal. Director of Community Development Stephanie Peterson explained this is not actually the case.
The request was approved in a three to one vote. Commissioner Wynn Butler dissented, noting his consistently held beliefs that neighboring property owners’ concerns outweigh everything else.
Also receiving the board’s approval was a request to rezone two lots on Browning Avenue from low-density residential to low-density residential attached to construct much-need workforce housing. This request was also previously recommended for denial by the planning board.
Frontier Property Management Owner Tyler Holloman said they intended to construct two, three-unit townhomes to serve as rentals. However, after hearing multiple concerns from residents of the area, they decided to alter their plans.
Many residents were still concerned because the city does not actually have control over what type of development occurs once the lot is rezoned.
Mayor Mark Hatesohl said he believes the property owner has shown a commitment to the community, and he can trust they will stay true to their plan.
Residents also worried this increase in housing units would only worsen traffic issues on Browning Avenue.
Hatesohl said regardless of zoning, traffic will not change.
Other residents were concerned that more neighbors means more disruption. Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Josh Brewer said this may create some disruptive change, but as challenges evolve, solutions must as well.
Holloman also noted for the commission that multiple residents indicated they were more favorable to the revised plan. He also presented letters of support for the project from the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, the Flint Hills Area Builders Association and the property owner neighboring the lots to the immediate north.
Ultimately, the board approved the request unanimously.