The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 15, 2014

CORRECTED: Zoning question prompts ordinance debate

By Brenden West Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — In the original version of this story, the Clinton Herald incorrectly stated that the Sullivan Group requested and received commercial zoning in 2001 for its property at 801 S. Third Street. While the property was rezoned from industrial to commercial use, Mesa Developments was the ownership group to receive the rezoning. The Herald regrets the error.

CLINTON — Successful cities, said At Large Councilman John Rowland, don’t yield their codes of ordinance to anyone. He pointed to nearby Dubuque and Galena, Ill., for his argument, and it’s why he and fellow Clinton council members are against a proposal by a local business.

“There’s this inconsistency where we’re letting anything into the downtown area,” Rowland said. “We send out all of these mixed signals and it’s poor. It’s very poor in my opinion.”

Clinton’s downtown, which Rowland called “struggling,” won’t be able to turn around unless city leaders get consistent with zoning.

The proposal calls for the building located at 801 S. Third St. to change back to its original M-2 Industrial zoning. The building is occupied by Adcraft Printwear Company, and in 2001, facility owners, Sullivan Group, requested to be zoned commercial in order to implement residential development.

Thirteen years later, that hasn’t happened. Two weeks ago, Sullivan Group approached the city’s planning commission with its new proposal.

Adcraft is hoping to construct a 6,600-square-foot building to house more production. The company wishes to build a steel building, something not allowed under its current commercial zoning.

City planning specialist Jacob Coupee said he’s not in favor of the steel structure either. But there is nothing consistent about surrounding buildings, he added, and the region contains other metal buildings.

“No matter what type of zoning you do, there will be an interruption in building types,” Coupee said.

Wording of city’s zoning ordinances stipulates there be consistency among buildings. Rowland said this is to ensure a more appealing downtown area.

A motion by councilman Tom Determann to take the matter to the city’s next regular council meeting through an ordinance failed 2-4. Rowland, Paul Gassman, Grant Wilke and Ed O’Neill each voted no.

“If we’re going to turn this downtown around, we need standards,” Rowland said.