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The Lake News Online
  • Laurie amends zoning rules

  • All non-conforming residential uses that had been discontinued under an old zoning rule in the City of Laurie will have one year from June 10 to re-establish residential use under an ordinance amendment passed by the board of aldermen Tuesday evening.
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  • All non-conforming residential uses that had been discontinued under an old zoning rule in the City of Laurie will have one year from June 10 to re-establish residential use under an ordinance amendment passed by the board of aldermen Tuesday evening.
    The board voted three to one to pass two amendments to Section 405.260 which pertains to non-conforming uses and continued and discontinued use.
    The first change extended the length of time a non-conforming use could be discontinued before losing its grandfathered status. Previously a non-conforming use that was discontinued could not be re-established after six months. Now it will be one year.
    With that amendment, the second change to the ordinance allows non-conforming residential uses —shut down due to discontinued use for more than six months — to be re-established over the next year before once again losing grandfathered status if residential use is not re-established during that time period.
    City officials estimated that the second part of the amendment could affect approximately three properties.
    While the numerical impact may appear relatively small, the second part of the amendment caused some debate among planning commissioners during their review of the ordinance earlier in the day as well as dissent during the votes on the issue by both the planning commission and the board of aldermen.
    With the planning commission's regular meeting moved from the first Monday of the month to Tuesday, June 10 prior to the regular aldermen meeting, the ordinance was debated and passed in one day by both boards.
    The planning commission held a public hearing on the ordinance amendment at 4:30 p.m. and heard from two Laurie residents and business owners — Rod Hayes and Jeff Chorpening — who were in favor of the change. Hayes is also a past city alderman.
    After the hearing ended and the planning commission meeting began, a motion by new commissioner Mayor Scott Fahrer to vote on both amendments together failed after receiving no second following an attempt by new commissioner Brad Davis to make the second.
    Fahrer advised Davis he needed to abstain on the issue. A property purchased by Davis for a relative is one of the three non-conforming houses in the city that had lost its grandfathered status and is zoned commercial.
    The planning commission instead voted on each amendment separately.
    On the first part that changed the time limit from six months to a year, Chris Jackson was the sole opposing vote. On the second part that allows the non-conforming residential uses to be re-established this year, both Jackson and Joyce Chorpening voted no, but the motion carried with Fahrer, Jim Clarke and Richard Skaar voting for it and Davis again abstaining. Jill Bell also abstained. Planning commission Chair Rick Purdon was out of town and not able to attend the meeting.
    Page 2 of 2 - Joyce Chorpening questioned the city's liability in taking away the grandfathered use then giving it back.
    Jackson focused on Davis' case in particular and queried Davis about the details of his purchase. Davis said he knew the status of the zoning, but was told by a realtor that he should be able to get a conditional use permit to use the property as a residence anyway. He could not make a formal application, however, until they purchased the property. Subsequently he found that it was not that simple and he did not get a CUP or rezoning.
    Jackson told Davis he was sorry but that it appeared Davis just didn't realize what he was buying.
    Fahrer argued that it was a moral issue to allow people to use the homes and that it was better to allow the three properties in question to be used as residences to potentially boost business in town.
    Bell added that things had changed economically for the town since planning and zoning was implemented in 2005.
    Later in the board of aldermen meeting, Alderman Greg Lux questioned whether the approach of opening up the re-establishment of residential use was the right approach.
    City attorney Steve Grantham said he saw no problem legally with liability on the issue and added that the second section was done out of fairness since other properties would come under the one-year rule and those properties only had six months.
    Grantham also noted that he owns one of the three commercial properties that lost its residential non-conforming use.
    Lux was the lone vote against the amendments with Alderwomen Karen Dobbins and Val Ites and Alderman Allen Kimberling voting for it.
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