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Residents get council to pare rezoning plan
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MONROE - Normally, home owners want their houses in residential zones.

But three residents in the 1200 block of 12th and 13th Avenue spoke at the City of Monroe Common Council meeting Wednesday, wanting to know why their property was being rezoned, from light industrial to residential, without their request.

A building used for purposes which are not allowed in a zone is considered "out of compliance." It is not illegal to be out of compliance; sometimes new zoning comes into effect in an area, causing a building to become out of compliance. Zoning laws keep it from being rebuilt for the same purpose should it become destroyed by fire or other disaster.

Homes in the 1200 block, if destroyed, could not be rebuilt as homes again; the M-1 zone does not allow for residential buildings.

Still, the residents present at the council meeting did not want their property rezoned along with the one rezoning request brought before the Plan Commission last month by Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood shut its Monroe doors in October and found a buyer for its building and extra lot at 1221 13th Ave.

The building once was a two-story home near the middle of town and had retained its charm, but was used as a store before becoming Planned Parenthood in the M-1 (light industrial) zone.

The new buyers wanted to return it to a home to live in, but city zoning laws prevent it from becoming a home again, which would have made it out of compliance with the M-1 zoning.

So Planned Parenthood approached the City of Monroe Plan Commission with the request to return the property to a residential, R-2 (medium density) zone.

The Plan Commission saw nothing wrong with doing that. In fact, the commissioners found other homes in adjoining lots had become "out of compliance" in the M-1 zone and decided to rezone three other lots to the same R-2 zone.

Despite the problems of not being able to rebuild, the current residents did not want the rezoning.

According to Alderman Dan Henke, rezoning the homes to R-2 could be a limitation to the owners in selling their property to an industrial or commercial business, which could bring a higher price.

The Common Council voted (5-4) against the original rezoning ordinance, but did unanimously approve rezoning Planned Parenthood's two lots.

Alderman Kent Kallembach was absent.