Planning commission recommends approval for rezoning near new Dollar General site

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The Blair Planning Commission approved the recommendation of an ordinance to rezone property west of the new Dollar General distribution center during its regular meeting Tuesday at the Blair Public Library and Technology Center.

The commission voted 4-2 for the recommendation with members Rebecca Fox and Joe Peleska voting nay. Commission members Henry Neef, Don Hansen and Bob Boettcher were absent.

The ordinance will change the property, which is owned by the City of Blair, near 10th and Wilbur streets from office park district (OPD) to agricultural/light industrial and manufacturing (A/ML).

“That would better fit in with the surrounding A/ML district, which to the (east) soon to be 10th Street extension will be Dollar General,” said Jeff Beierman, assistant planning and zoning director.

A/ML will allow for a number of types of businesses, including automobile service stations, printing and publishing, truck/freight terminals, utility substations, lumber yards, contractor yards and row crop.

A couple who lives near the site distribution center, which is currently under construction, voiced their concerns over the rezoning.

Bob and Pam Hanson, who live at 1410 U.S. Highway 75, were concerned about the noise and the types of businesses allowed with the change in zoning.

“It used to be a nice peaceful area with a corn field in our backyard. Now I've got millions square foot building being put up,” Bob Hanson said. “Now, you're talking about putting gas stations, tire stations and everything right next to the trees and you don't know if the trees are going to stay or not.”

Beierman said he was not aware of any plans to remove the trees or creek that borders the west edge of the property.

“I've got a problem with all that,” Hanson said. “If it stays zoned as the office, that's one thing. That's places that will close at night. Other things will stay open all night long. I'll have no peace around there. I'm sure none of you live in that area and you're not worried about it, but I am. I don't want to lose what I've got.”

Pam Hanson said the trees serve as a barrier for their property.

“It's one thing during the summertime, we don't even see Cargill in the summertime at all. During the wintertime, it is bright lights everywhere,” she said. “I know that once the Dollar General is in there's going to be a huge difference just in lighting alone.”

Commission member Melanie Kaeding asked city staff if there had been interest in building in the area.

“I'm not at liberty to say right now,” Beierman said.

The Blair City Council will consider the ordinance at its meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at the council chambers.

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