Three council members changed their votes on a proposed zoning change; The measure failed on second reading

Opponents of the rezoning of a 3.91 acre parcel of ground on West Main from Residential B-G to Commercial Highway C-H came away from Tuesday night’s Riverton City Council meeting victorious. Three council members who supported the zoning change two weeks ago, reversed their vote in front of several dozen highly emotional residents and other city residents who didn’t support a commercial development in that neighborhood, saying there were other more appropriate locations in the city for such a retail outlet. If the zone change had been approved, it would’ve been a green light for development of a 22,000 square foot Tractor Supply Store. As it stands, the B-G zoning at the site currently allows for construction of up to six multi-family apartment two and three story apartment units, or other high density uses which Council Member Mike Bailey said would have an even greater impact on the neighborhood than a retail store. Council President Lee Martinez said he changed his mind in the past two weeks, “because I was torn on first reading anyway. I studied it some more and didn’t see the need for a commercial zone in that location,” he said. “The former John Deere place (at West Main and North 8th) is vacant and there are other locations that are more suitable.” Martin Cannan said the big turnout of people in opposition to the zoning change was the primary reason he changed his vote. “Seeing the rest of the people show up, well, I enjoyed seeing that. It wasn’t just the residents there opposed,” he said. “I think that is a good thing.” Sean Petersen said one speaker, Dave Lane, greatly influenced his decision. “He lived outside of the area and said there were other opportunities in town for the business.” But Petersen also noted that the parcel of land was still for sale. “They haven’t stopped development on this parcel, somebody will buy it and put something else there. I consider this just a pause.” Mayor Lars Baker voted against the zoning change at the December 1st meeting and had not changed his mind on Tuesday night. Baker said he thought the idea of a Tractor Supply Store “had hijacked” the discussion. “We’re talking about changing the zoning to commercial highway, which would allow a gas station, a car dealer and the list goes on and on once the property is rezoned. What we need to look at,” the mayor said, “is what is the current zoning is and what it allows.” Baker noted that in his 40 years of local residence in the Riverton area, he said the trend on West Main was moving away from commercial and more toward residential. Martinez said he sympathized with the opponents, while also saying he wanted Riverton to grow, but that he didn’t want to go back to the 1950s when that area was outside of the city and mostly rural agricultural. Ultimately, he sided with the opponents when the vote was taken. The only councilors who supported the zone change were Mike Bailey, Karl Larson and Holly Jibben. *Feature Image: Adjacent landowner Brent Pollard made an impassioned plea to the council to protect his lifestyle and reject the zoning change. (Pitchengine / Communities) * #county10 #news