Kevin Myron

Kevin Myron, owner and operator of AG Opportunities, addresses a joint meeting of the Clay County Planning Commission and the City of Vermillion’s Planning & Zoning Commission Wednesday, Nov. 16 before a capacity audience in the meeting chamber of Vermillion City Hall.

After the Clay County Planning Commission and the City of Vermillion’s Planning & Zoning Commission failed to come to an agreement Nov. 16 over a rezoning request, the issue is moving to its next stage.

Kevin Myron’s attempt to rezone his grain elevator, AG Opportunities, located at 1919 W. Cherry Street, from A-1 Agricultural District to HI: Heavy Industrial District failed at the conclusion of a joint meeting of the county and city planning commissions.

The meeting was held before a capacity audience in Vermillion City Hall. Both commissions heard two-and-half hours of public input and statements from county and city officials.

The two boards failed to come to an agreement. The county planning commission voted in favor of the rezoning request. The city’s planning and zoning commission voted to deny the rezoning request. City staff is recommending that county and city planning commissions work to amend the A-1 Agricultural district so that the “grain terminal/grain processing facility” use be included as a conditional use.

The city indicated at last month’s meeting that rezoning the area into a HI: Heavy Industrial district will offer too many possibilities for development that will not be compatible with the existing neighboring residential uses.

The county indicated last month that the Joint Jurisdiction Comprehensive Plan, agreed upon by the city and the county several years ago, is intended to promote the orderly outward growth of the City and minimize conflicts between urban and rural land uses.

Drew Gunderson, the Clay County zoning administrator, has recommended that Myron’s zoning request be approved, in part, because “the use of the existing facility may comply with both the spirit and the intent of the City’s and Joint Jurisdiction Comprehensive Plans.”

Following last month’s joint meeting of the city and county zoning commissions, the recommendations of the county board are taken to the county commission and the advice from the city’s planning and zoning commission will be heard by the city council.

The city council is scheduled to take such action on Myron’s rezoning request at its regular meeting that begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, at City Hall. The Clay County Commission will hold a public hearing on the request the next morning, at its regular meeting that will be held in the Clay County Courthouse beginning at 9 a.m.

City Engineer Jose Dominguez explained the process in a memo at the Nov. 16 meeting. Due to this being an ordinance amendment, the city council and the county commission must hold two meetings and those scheduled for next week are the first of those two and will be held separately.

A second, joint meeting of the city council and the county commission is also required sometime after next week’s meetings.

For the zone change to be adopted, all of the two governing bodies’ decisions must be in favor of the rezoning. If at any point either of the governing bodies does not approve of the rezoning request, the petition would be considered denied. At the Nov. 16 meeting, Myron told the members of both commissions that his family, which owns AG Opportunities, was not made aware that a zoning change had taken place to their business’s property.

“This is something that is significantly impacting our business right now,” he said. “We have discovered that it probably has been indirectly affecting us for eight or nine years. To us, the way that we got here is almost as important as the current zoning situation so we would like to explain that from our point of view as well.”

City Engineer Jose Dominguez stated in a memo to the city planning and zoning commission this fall that in 2012, when the county and the city adopted the current Joint Jurisdiction Zoning Area (JJZA) zoning ordinance, the property on which AG Opportunities is located was zoned into the A-1: Agricultural district.

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