Council Denies Developer's Bid for Zoning Change

Despite pleas from some of the city's oldest residents, council members on Tuesday denied a zoning change for a housing developer who promised also to clean up an abandoned petroleum facility in the neighborhood where he hoped to build.

Council members said they sympathized with residents whose families have lived in the area off Bastanchury Road since early this century, but now overlook the leaking oil tanks. But they denied developer Brian Johnson's plan to increase the allowed density and build 47 houses in the 17-acre tract that abuts the longtime residents' property.

The Planning Commission had denied the project earlier, saying it would put too many houses in one of the few remaining rural areas in the city.

Residents complained that none of the various oil companies who operated the tanks did anything to clean up the site, and Johnson had promised to pay the $1-million cleanup cost himself. Council members agreed the tanks need to be removed, but called that a separate issue.

Voting 4 to 1, with Mayor Gene Wisner dissenting, the council denied the zoning change, but asked city staff to examine the tank situation. They also asked the Planning Commission to review zoning in the tract and housing options that would be compatible with the surrounding area.

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