After much discussion and public input, members of the Chenoa Zoning Board recommended against changing the zoning of a lot on the west end of town to allow multi-family residential units.
Those casting “no” votes at Monday’s hearing included Michael Chrisman, Bobbi Ludwig, Rick Carranza and Dan Boian. Larry Leggett casted the lone “yes” vote. This zoning vote is purely a recommendation and non-binding as the Chenoa City Council has the final say.
“I don’t have any concerns at this time,” Leggett stated before the vote.
“I think the property would have more potential as commercial but it’s not being used either,” said Boian, who serves as Zoning Board president.
Chrisman acknowledged the city must decide between the benefit of potentially having more people in town living there or giving up commercial space which he said was well thought out.
“You’ve got to weigh the two.”
The applicant and property owner, Zach Anderson, was represented by local attorney Will Gerber who made the case for a petition. At the start of the hearing, Chenoa City Attorney Steve Mann encouraged everyone in the room to keep the meeting organized.
Gerber noted the parcel of property has been for sale and undeveloped from 2010 forward. He described the lot’s small size.
“If there was going to be anything built from an industrial standpoint, it would have to be east,” Gerber explained.
According to Gerber, there is no indication this lot will impact property values and these are nice units proposed by Anderson who owns other units in town.
“Frankly, this fits the specific area of the village very well,” added Gerber.
Chrisman asked Anderson what he would do with the property going forward should the city decide not to re-zone it. Anderson said he has given it some thought and an option would be putting the land up for sale but he loves working with residential properties.
“I’ve been looking for over two years for places to do something like this in town with no success,” stated Anderson.
Anderson foresees people such as traveling nurses or single professionals living in the units which is why there would be a maximum occupancy of two individuals per unit.
Ben Stoller, who lives in the Prairie Central School District and has a masonry business, spoke in support for Anderson as the two have known each other for some time.
“He’s going to stand by his word, what he says he’s going to do.”
Local resident John Cerda said he is pro-business and wants to see more commercial properties around. He would like to see Chenoa try to attract business by putting the right incentives in place.
“It just benefits the city so much more to keep pushing in that direction,” said Cerda.
Cerda feels sales tax dollars are more beneficial and wants something that can be put toward the water system to make the town more “livable.”
Resident David Shane believes a place such as this would be better on the east side of town to create more business traffic.
“I feel better about it now than I did before,” Shane admitted. “I think there are other places in town we could talk to that would be more applicable to what you are looking at.”
Zack Lopeman said he agreed the area was small but pointed to a number of businesses opening in the last few years and many do not sit on areas over an acre in size.
Clint Steffen is in favor of the proposal and shared his thoughts with the board.
“It’s a nice-looking building,” Steffen said of the planned units.
When asked by Chrisman why Chenoa was chosen for this project, Anderson replied his building on Second Avenue in town has every unit full and he feels there is demand in Chenoa to support more.
Anderson emphasized he would rather go into a small town to unify people, not divide them.
“The last thing I want to do is create a big stink,” Anderson explained. “That would be counter-productive.”
In addition to Chenoa, Anderson properties has buildings in Roanoke, Benson, Minier, Congerville, Goodfield and Peoria.