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Rezoning Request Denied By Monmouth City Council

MONMOUTH -- The Monmouth City Council last week denied the rezoning of 91 acres of property to residential-industrial.

The undeveloped farmland is owned by Laura Verdigan and sits west of Ash Creek Intermediate School off Hoffman Road and north of the city's waste water treatment plant.

The council's resolution effectively kills a plan that has been mulled by officials for more than a year. It sought to turn 30 acres of that property into a residential neighborhood.

In 2005, Frank Walker, a Salem consultant representing a prospective buyer for the land, requested it be annexed into the city. Monmouth voters approved the annexation last May.

Walker then requested to rezone a 30-acre section of the property on the east to a low-density residential area, and the balance into an industrial designation.

The Monmouth Planning commission considered the proposal last spring and again in December, and recommended that both requests be denied.

City officials pointed out several flaws, stating that future heavy industrial development near a subdivision would only raise a number of complaints regarding noise and hours of operation, and that a light industrial zone might better serve the city.

Officials also said the subdivision, with access only from Hoffman Road, would increase congestion at its Highway 99W intersection and may violate state transportation plans to make residential neighborhoods more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.

Walker will have to wait at least another year to reapply for a zone designation, and must submit a plan that's more compatible with city and state land-use criteria, City Councilor Marc Miller has said.

In other news:

Economic Development Commission, which acts as an advisory body to the city on issues pertaining on business and commercial interests, will serve a dual role as a review board for Monmouth's recently formed Urban Renewal District.

The commission/board has been researching the cost and potential impact of several projects that might be included in the special taxing district and plans to present a prioritized list to City Council during a work session at 7:30 p.m. on March 23 at Volunteer Hall.

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