By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer
---- — CLINTON — The city of Clinton has denied the expansion efforts of RK Graphics, a locally-owned small business.
RK Graphics owner and operator Ronald Fletcher spoke to the Clinton City Council this week, requesting a zoning change at 750 N. 18th St. from residential to commercial.
City Council members were reluctant to the zoning change because of the possibility of future businesses requesting the same thing.
“When one business opens a commercial development, others will follow suit,” said At-Large Councilman John Rowland, adding that the feedback he received from the community did not support Fletcher’s request.
“They feel this is a prime residential area,” Rowland said. “They do not wish to see more commercial zoning in this area.”
Fletcher purchased the property with the knowledge of its residential zoning, but hoped the council would accept his zone-change request.
“Many towns have main commercial corridors within residential areas,” Fletcher said. “My view is that this request is not only an opportunity for RK Graphics, but for the city and its residents as a whole to prosper.”
Fletcher’s opposition, Dan Dolan, of Dan Dolan Homes, also spoke to the council on Tuesday and expressed his desire for keeping the area zoned as residential.
“You have so many good things happening in Clinton, I think we need a residential district,” Dolan said.
Community members came out to show support for the expansion of RK Graphics, as well as a few who expressed their opposition to the rezoning request.
Andy Sokolovich expressed the importance of keeping Fletcher and his business thriving in the Clinton community.
“He’s an asset,” Sokolovich said. “Anything we can do to keep him here in Clinton, we should do.”
On the other side, Bob Betsinger argued that adding commercial businesses to residential areas will disrupt neighborhoods and residents.
“Would you want that in your neighborhood?” Betsinger asked.
After a lengthy discussion with one another, and with community members, the council denied the zoning change request with a 4-3 vote. Council members Bev Hermann, Rowland, Charlie Mulholland and Jennifer Graf voted “no” to the change.
“Evidently you did not know the plan and the man that was in charge from 2010 to 2013. And he definitely saw the boldness of all the small businesses popping up along Mill Creek Parkway. It was meant to be business orientated where there is plenty of land for residential in front of or behind,” Councilwoman Maggie Klaes said.
According to City Attorney Jeff Farwell, RK Graphics will have the ability to request a zoning change once again a year from the original request date.