Seymour council rejects rezoning

A proposal to rezone property along Burkart Boulevard that would have allowed for commercial development in the area has been rejected by the Seymour City Council.

But the need to change the zoning classification still exists, said Jeremy Gray, head of the city’s planning and zoning department.

The issue now goes back to Seymour Plan Commission after that board failed to give it enough votes earlier this month to pass with a favorable recommendation.

Unless commissioners make substantial changes to the plan, proponents of rezoning will have to wait six months before they can propose it again.

The property, which is mostly agricultural with some residential use, was annexed into city limits several years ago for construction of the Burkart Boulevard bypass, connecting State Road 11 to O’Brien Street, but it was never rezoned.

The current R-S or residential suburban zoning is not a classification permitted in the city, Gray said.

“It has to be zoned something,” he said.

Property owner Brent Kilgas spoke at Monday night’s council meeting in opposition to the plan, which called for 200 feet on either side of the road to be zoned C-3 to allow for a variety of businesses to locate there, including gas stations, restaurants and other stores.

“We don’t have any plans to do any development,” Kilgas said. “It’s primarily a residential and agricultural area, and we’d like to see it stay that way.”

Council member John Reinhart recommended the council send the issue back to the plan commission to reconsider. He also sits on that board.

“We can’t make any changes to it,” he said of the council’s actions. “I think we need to look at this and look at all of Burkart Boulevard.”

Reinhart said he envisions Burkart Boulevard as a “commercial corridor.”

“Especially when the south leg gets done,” he said. “It’s going to be similar to Highway 50. It’s designed to take traffic out of downtown, and I look for it to be busy.”

But instead of gas stations, Reinhart said, he would like to see more popular amenities built there to bring more people to the area.

Council President Jim Rebber said his concern is that C-3 zoning would be too broad.

“Someone could come in, and we as a council don’t think it’s a good fit,” he said. “Typically, you have someone who wants to rezone property because they are going to use it for a particular zoning. In this case, we’re asking the whole thing to be rezoned C-3 with no potential landowners for that usage.”

One possible compromise suggested by Kilgas and commissioner Kenny Pfaffenberger is to change the zoning to C-1, which would allow for smaller businesses and professional services.

“We think C-1 is a better fit,” Kilgas said.

“The only problem I have with C-1 is it allows for single-family residences, too,” Reinhart said.

No matter what the zoning becomes, Reinhart said the property owners will have the final say.

“They decide who they want to sell to,” he said.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.