Council considers revitalization program, rezoning request

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY —Sidney City Council was introduced to legislation Monday evening to establish a new neighborhood revitalization program and for a rezoning request of two parcels of land on the west side of Wilson Avenue.

Kyle Havenar, the city’s vacant property inspector, introduced an ordinance to establish a new revitalization program called the Neighborhood Pride Grant. The goal of the program is to help with exterior improvements of homes in Sidney neighborhoods. Examples of these improvements include landscaping; exterior painting — historic homes must use age appropriate color pallet; porch repair; sidewalk repair; outdoor lighting; and/or planter boxes.

The Neighborhood Pride Grant would be open to all homeowners in Sidney. Funding will be derived from a combination of city of Sidney funds and donations from private entities. It is a competitive, 1 to 1 matching grant for exterior improvements, Havenar said, with up to a maximum of $1,000 per dwelling.

To qualify for Neighborhood Pride Grant funds, clusters — defined as a minimum of three and a maximum of five neighboring properties — of property owners shall submit a pre-application on forms provided by the community development department.

The pre-application requirements includes the following:

• Property must be located within Sidney corporation limits;

• Own the property for which the exterior improvements are being proposed;

• Be a part of a cluster of properties located within the same ward;

• Identify a representative of the cluster.

There are 18 target areas in Sidney for the grant. If the applicants meet the pre-application requirements, city staff will request further information about:

• The location within a particular target zone;

• Proximity of houses within the cluster;

• The number of participating properties;

• Teamwork on projects;

• The plan to sustain momentum.

Mayor Mike Barhorst asked why ward boundaries were chosen as the delineating boundary. He said in some cases adjacent properties may be in two separate wards and it may make more sense for them to be in the same ward. Havenar said the would review the boundary delineation before the May 24 meeting and report back to City Council.

Also Monday, a public hearing was held in conjunction with the introduction of an ordinance on the rezoning request of Douglas Daniels, on the behalf of James Weiler, et al, for the rezoning of the land on the west side of Wilson Avenue between Michigan and Grove Streets.

The lots had previously been developed as one single family dwelling, which has been demolished, said Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth. A detached garage is currently the only structure on the subject property.

While no use has been identified, she said, the intent of the rezoning is to align the two subject parcels with the B-2 zoning of the two parcels to the south, which are also owned by James Weiler, et al. The purpose is to have a property, comprised of the four parcels, with a single zoning designation that is large enough, at approximately 0.6 acres, to be development as a commercial use.

Dulworth added the zoning would be in compliance with the recommendations of the city’s comprehensive plan.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan questioned if the comprehensive plan identified the area as suitable for commercial activities, was it possible that the remaining residential lots in this area could also be re-zoned in the future. Dulworth said zoning along this corridor alternates between R-1 and B-2, so the potential re-zoning requests for other lots in the area was a future possibility.

Dulwoth said the rezoning request was made to make the property more marketable to sell.

Barhorst shared concerns he received from a few area property owners that there was no identified future use for the property.

When asked for comments from the public, Wilson Avenue residents Peggy Keller and Clarissa Keller spoke in opposition to the rezoning. They each noted the area is already busy enough as it is for it to change it to a business district.

Both ordinances will return on May 24 to City Council for further consideration.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.