During their Tuesday meeting, Manhattan City Commissioners voted to return a rezoning request for 407 Pottawatomie Avenue back to the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board for further consideration.
The request from Midwest Concrete Materials failed to earn approval from the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board in a three to three vote during their May 25th meeting.
MCM Owner Chris Eichman told commissioners the company hopes to rezone the approximately 1.22 acre tract of land for business commercial use and construct a training center.
The tract is currently zoned as a low-density residential district. Local residents spoke during public comment and indicated they do not want that to change.
Many felt an office building would be incompatible with the otherwise residential area, and Workforce Housing Steering Committee Member Donna Schenk-Hamlin said this tract would better serve the community by remaining residential.
Manhattan Resident John Flavin said he worries what will happen when MCM eventually needs even more room to grow.
Commissioner John Matta felt this change has potential to actually benefit the district. He noted the area is already bordered on two sides by commercially-zoned land and does not appear to be highly desirable.
Due to the planning board’s prior decision, the request requires a ⅔ majority vote to pass.
All four board members could not agree to confidently approve the request. Commissioner Wynn Butler said he was inclined to approve but could not confidently do so, citing his usual philosophy that, with rezoning requests, the neighboring community’s desires trump all else.
In a three to one vote, the commission instead elected to remand the request back to the planning board for further consideration. Commissioner Linda Morse dissented.