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City Must Re-do Action On Zoning Reclassification

By Staff | Feb 25, 2010

Emmetsburg City Council voted on a motion to change zoning classification for Rick and Candy Bisenius at 4505 Works Road and 4507 Works Road. Council representatives will vote again on the measure at a special session on Friday, Feb. 26.

Bisenius and his attorney, Roger Berkland, came before the council Monday night. A public hearing was held on the request to change the zoning classification of the Bisenius property from C-2 Highway Commercial to R-1 Single Family Residential.

“We are asking that the property be rezoned residential, as it has been  used for over 50 years, so that the Bisenius’ can get favorable financing,” Roger Berkland told the council. “We are not requesting anything that hasn’t been done before.”

Berkland referred to spot rezoning on Grand, northeast of Fareway; near Wentzel’s; and behind Dyno’s.

We are not attempting to change any other property than Rick’s,” said Berkland. “It won’t affect any other property.”

Emmetsburg Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended the change in zoning nearly a month ago.

Glen Newhouse, representing Kerber Milling, stated, “Our concern, is anything going to change with the way we do business on that road? Or any business that we would do in the future? We talked to the zoning board and they didn’t have a problem with it. We wish we would get something from the city in writing saying it wouldn’t change anything that we did down the road.”

“What do you do, other than drive on the road?” asked Mayor Schad.

Newhouse explained that Kerber Milling has part of their business there and MaxYield secures their corn.

“That’s where our corn comes from,” said Newhouse. “We just want to be sure that we will continue to do business as we are and that means we may drive a truck on the road in the middle of the night, and we will haul corn.”

City Attorney Brian Thul assured Newhouse that the Kerber property is zoned commercial.

“You will be able to do anything you’ve done before, if this rezoning occurs,” said Thul. He explained, “Commercial is the greatest use of what you can do on the property. With residential it’s restrictive in that it can only be a residence. It couldn’t be a business. You (Kerber) will still be able to do everything you’ve done before. It’s not affecting your particular zoning.”

If the property was rezoned residential, would Bisenius be able to continue operating his business at that location? City Administrator John Bird noted that certain home occupations are allowed under supplemental regulations in Emmetsburg City Code.

“Are you referring to my shed?” Bisenius asked. “That is a storage area. There’s no commercial business or retail business operated in that building… It’s like someone’s garage.”

Bisenius added that his computer, the phone in his house and his business cards have the house address, 4507 Works Road.

Walt Reichert, representing MaxYield Cooperative, read a statement:

“We as a company strive to maintain a good relationship with our neighbors at any of our facilities. We do not necessarily oppose this motion by Rick and Candy Bisenius for zoning classification change from C-2 to R-1. Our concern, however, is how it can affect the operation of our business or any future expansion we may want to undertake. We wish to go on record stating, on the advice of our attorney, if we are assured, should their motion pass, it would not impede any future upgrades or normal operation or our business, that we as company are okay with this motion passing.”

The city attorney noted, “You’re still zoned commercial so you would not be restricted from doing any commercial action.”

The city administrator added that the MaxYield operation is outside the city limits. He also pointed out that only the first 600 feet of Works Road is in the city. The remainder of the road is in the county.

Councilman Corey Gramowski made the motion to approve ordinance #538 for zoning classification change from C-2 Highway Commercial to R-1 Single Family Residential for Rick and Candy Bisenius for property at 4505 Works Road and 4507 Works Road. Councilman Steve Finer seconded the motion.

Voting yes: Councilmen Gramowski, Finer and Brian Malm.

Voting no: Councilmen Brian Campbell and Council representative Sandy Pelzer.

Councilman Pat Degen was not present due to a death in his family.

The city attorney and the city administrator said the vote would pass only with a majority (four) of the six council members. Because one council member was absent, the measure did not pass.

Emmetsburg City Council will act at a special meeting this Friday, Feb. 26, to consider setting a public hearing for March 8 for zoning classification change from C-2 Highway Commercial to R-1 Single Family Residential for Rick and Candy Bisenius for the property located at 4505 and 4507 Works Road.