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Planning commission weighs rezone freeze

Xavier Smith • Jul 26, 2017 at 9:31 PM

The Lebanon Planning Commission weighed a recommendation Tuesday on a temporary zoning freeze for properties included in the Hartmann Drive Corridor Study. 

The recommendation came from the Hartmann Drive Corridor Study steering committee, according to Lebanon planning director Paul Corder. Corder said the recommendation was designed to allow time for the study, estimated to be finished later this year, to be implemented and examined. 

According to the recommendation, the commission would not take up or make any recommendation to the Lebanon City Council on any rezoning requests on properties included in the 3,000-acre study. 

“If you’re not going to make a recommendation, that does not stop them from going to city council, but I mean city council does have a vested right in developing that corridor according to the plan,” said city planner Richard Donovan. 

Commissioners did not commit to following the recommendation, noting the council is legally not bound to their recommendations. 

The city held two public input meetings last month for feedback and input on the study. 

“We’re feeding this back to the public and the steering committee so they can tell us if we’ve translated what we thought we heard from them into the maps,” said Kevin Gunther with Ragan-Smith Associates during the meeting. 

“In the end, this truly is a plan that the city and the community and city leaders have developed. We’re trying to communicate and shape it as consultants, but it’s not our plan. It’s the city’s plan,” he said.

Both Gunther and Corder said quality of life was a major concern for residents.

“We were kind of surprised. We put up 10 tables, and of those 10 tables, eight put a priority on pedestrian connectivity to greenways and being able to walk, and that’s something you can’t really ignore,” Corder said.

Sarah Haston, Lebanon economic development director, said although the planning department would likely use the results of the study to shape some of their policies, the study is crucial to economic development.

“There’s always talk about the lack of development on Hartmann Drive and what’s the future look like in the area. However, people also don’t want a cluster of things in a small area like other parts of the city. This is a chance to get feedback and form a strategic approach about possible development in the area,” Haston said.

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