Monona Council rejects rezoning request for a Dollar General store

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The Monona City Council, at its Oct. 17 regular meeting, unanimously rejected a request by the Overland Group to rezone lot 19 of the Gordon Residential Subdivision from R-2 residential to C-1A highway commercial for construction of a Dollar General store.

The decision went against the recommendation of the Monona Planning and Zoning Commission, which voted 4-3 for a zoning change at an Oct. 4 meeting, despite objections from subdivision residents who were concerned about the potential for lowered property values and excess noise and light if the store was built. They favored the store coming to town, just not in the proposed location.

With a zoning change, the Overland Group proposed construction of a 9,100-square-foot store on a 2.76-acre site located between Highway 18/52 and residential property along Darby Drive.

At the Oct. 17 council meeting, which included a public hearing, Gordon Subdivision residents continued to share worries about lights and noise disrupting their neighborhood’s atmosphere. 

They even presented a document, signed by nearly all of the residents, disapproving of the zoning change. 

“There’s one who abstained and one who has not shown up [at the meeting]. Everyone else is against it,” said property owner Dave Beinborn. “What more do you want? We don’t want it.”

According to the property owners, the signatures on the document dispute a claim from a vote conducted by Monona Enterprises in March that said 75 percent of property owners favored a zoning change. Per a subdivision covenant, there has to be 75 percent approval of all property owners of record before a zoning change can be made.

The city said it was under the impression the vote showed the necessary 75 percent approval in order to move forward.

“The city didn’t know there were objections. That’s why we have a public hearing,” said city administrator Dan Canton. “This is a process, and it’s working. There have been plenty of opportunities for people to speak and get the facts right.”

One resident said of the March vote that they thought they were just filling out a survey, and not voting on the issue.

Councilwoman Randee Koenig stressed that it’s not the city’s or the council’s job to regulate how that vote was conducted.

“Nothing shows what that original vote was,” said councilman John Elledge.

“But there’s nothing that says you can’t re-vote,” Koenig noted.

Since the consensus now shows considerable disapproval of a zoning change, Elledge felt the planning and zoning commission should have never gotten involved, that the request shouldn’t have been taken that far per the covenant. 

“This meeting is to accept or reject [the zoning change], not whether we’re welcoming the Overland Group or Dollar General into Monona. I think everyone thinks it would be a benefit,” he said. That doesn’t change the fact, though, he added, that 75 percent of property owners are not in favor of the zoning change. “I believe we should reject it because that 75 percent is not met. It doesn’t have the support.”

Elledge made the motion, seconded by councilman Dan Havlicek, to reject the rezoning request. Koenig, Doug Bachman and Andrew Meyer also voted to reject the request.

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