Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
RIVERSIDE — Planning and Zoning Commission officials say they’re open to a company’s plan to buy the last lot in a city business park from Midwest Surplus, a business that decommissions and refurbishes concrete temp buildings for telecommunication companies.
“We have a price agreed upon, I think we have the sale agreed upon, it’s already designed, I just want to make sure that … there’s no surprises,” Midwest Surplus Owner Scott Kerkhoff said. “We’re going to have some buildings in the yard, I wanted to make sure that was OK.”
Nick Bettis, an employee city engineering firm Axiom Consultants, said the company’s outdoor storage needs would require rezoning of the lot from C-3 to C-2, something that would require the company to follow certain rules. The list includes particular fencing, maximum building heights, and low-dust pavements like concrete, asphalt or certain types of gravel.
City Administrator Christine Yancey said rezoning would also have to follow a formal process.
“There has to be signage on the property, a notice of rezoning,” she said. “All the neighbors are notified and you have to have a hearing.”
The meeting Tuesday night did not include said hearing. Yancey said it was an informal chance to feel out the situation.
“You’re here basically to make your recommendations to Scott so he knows, if this isn’t going to pass, not to go any farther,” she said. “This is just preliminary, this isn’t to make any recommendations to city council, there’ll be another P&Z meeting.”
Bettis said remaining formal steps included the company submitting a formal rezoning request and code-compliant site plan, a move that would put a public hearing and eventual city council action in motion. The plan could conceivably be shot down at any of those steps.
“The hang-up would be if there’s any (problem) with the Planning and Zoning Commission, the public having some issue with it and city council approving it,” Bettis said. “That would be the risk that’s out there.”
Board members said they were on board with the plan, but emphasized that their opinions did not guarantee success.
“I’m OK with the type of operation that he has,” Commission Member Bob Schneider said. “My concern for him is if the zoning failed to pass. We’re going to OK this for him which makes you feel good, but you’re still not where you need to be until the zoning is changed. So I think we’re a little ahead of the horse.”
If all goes according to plan, Kerkhoff said the deal was as good as sealed.
“We were ready to pull the trigger yesterday,” he said. “If it goes to C-2, you approve our business plan, then we’re ready to go. We can … do the transaction right away.”