The Effingham City Plan Commission voted to recommend the rezoning of a property located at 108 S. Cleveland Street in Effingham on Tuesday. The property is currently zoned as residential. The owners of the property, Mark A. Goeckner and Mary Dawn Goeckner, petitioned the planning committee to rezone the property from residential to commercial.
During a presentation to the Commission, Mark Goeckner explained that, if rezoned, the unoccupied residence would be demolished and the property would be used as a 16-car, concrete parking lot. Goeckner told the commission that he plans on expanding a facility located at his business, Geockner Brothers Inc, which is located directly south of the property in question for rezoning. The new facility would take up approximately twelve parking spaces, which according to Goeckner, necessitates the addition of a new parking lot. Goeckner also said the property would not be lighted and that he would be willing to install barriers around the lot.
Two Effingham residents spoke against the rezoning petition. One, James Tegeler was concerned about runoff and litter from the new lot onto his adjacent property, as well as the possibility of other businesses requesting the area be rezoned to commercial space in the future. Tegeler was also concerned that additional traffic resulting from the lot could possibly reduce the value the of his property to potential buyers in the future.
Another resident, Ann Newton, also spoke against the petition saying that it is “counterproductive to rezone a landmark street.” She also expressed concern about other commercial businesses petitioning the Commission to rezone more of the neighborhood for commercial.
After discussion the Commission voted to recommend the proposed rezoning to the City Council by a 3-2 vote. Cindy Vogel, Brian Hayes, and Dave Storm Voted Yea. Greg Kemper and Martin Stock voted nay.
Board Member Dave Storm explained that he supported Goeckner’s proposal because it would be consistent with trends in the area.
Effingham Radio News also spoke to Board Member Greg Kemper, who opposed the rezoning. He suggested that the rezoning could set a detrimental precedent for other businesses requesting to rezone residential areas.
The rezoning is not finalized until the City Council votes to approve the change.
The Plan Commission also heard a petition from Jerry R. Jansen requesting the rezoning of three lots along N. Second Street from residential to commercial. Two of the properties, 805 and 803 N. 2nd Street, are currently vacant. One, 807 N. 2nd Street, currently has an unoccupied residence on the property. Jansen says that rezoning would allow him to construct more parking for his business, The Orchard Inn. The petition had no opposition and was unanimously recommended for approval by the City Council.