Two-thirds of the Rolla City Council voted Monday night against a rezoning request for a commercial gymnasium on 10th Street.
If the council doesn't bring the request back up for reconsideration at its next regular meeting, property owner Chris Blair would have to wait a full year to reapply, Community Development Director John Petersen said.
An attempt by Councilman Steven Leonard at the end of the meeting to bring the request back up failed to gather support.
The Rolla Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted earlier this month to recommend the rezoning of 1402 E. 10th St. from R-3 (multi-family) to C-2 (general retail) district zoning.
That property, Lot 1 of Pope Place Subdivision, is owned by Chris Blair who does business as CKDP Properties LLC. Petersen said the property, approximately 1.69 acres, has a metal storage building on site.
Blair wants to convert the building for use as a commercial gymnasium, Petersen said.
The property was rezoned from C-1 (neighborhood business) to R-3 district on June 21, 2010.
At that time, Blair had submitted a site plan that would put six four-plex housing units on that property. The existing metal structure was to be torn down.
That plan for multi-family housing apparently did not work out, Petersen said. Rezoning the property for commercial use would not negatively impact the neighborhood which has a mixed use. North of the property, across the street are senior apartments, Casey's convenience store and vacant commercial land. South of the property is church-owned property with a youth center. East is the city fire station and west is a substation owned by Show Me Power Corp.
There were no comments for or against the rezoning during the public hearing.
After the first reading of the ordinance, Leonard entered a motion to waive the rules and hear the final reading for passage.
Councilman Tony Bahr then entered a motion not to have the final reading because of unspecified "ongoing negotiations" between the city and Blair. Bahr's motion was out of order, and the council voted 7-5 (with a show of hands, not a roll call) to hear the final reading.
Following the final reading and a motion to approve it, Bahr opened the discussion period by saying, "I think it's a mistake." He again alluded to the "ongoing negotiations" and said those issues need to be settled "before we give him anything else."
That apparently persuaded other council members, for only four voted for passage and eight voted not to pass it.
Voting against it were Bahr, J.D. Williams, Jonathan Hines, Brian Woolley, Walter Bowe, Louis Magdits, Don Morris and Sue Eudaly.
Voting for it were Monty Jordan, Greg Sawyer, Leonard and Kelly Long.
That appeared to be the end of the matter until at the end of the meeting, when the period for council comments opened, Magdits asked for a clarification regarding the next step on the rezoning.
Page 2 of 2 - He said his understanding of the city's rules was that the council could bring the rezoning up for reconsideration, but the applicant would have to wait a year, and he asked if that was a correct interpretation.
Petersen said that was correct, but he added that the applicant could in six months ask the council to bring it back up.
City Administrator John Butz said a council member could ask for reconsideration at the next meeting, but after that, the waiting period would begin.
Petersen noted that once the waiting period begins, the rezoning request would have to begin anew with an application, a staff recommendation, a hearing by the planning and zoning commission and a recommendation to the council, then a hearing by the council and a final vote on the ordinance.
If the council were to reconsider it at the first January meeting, the rezoning could be enacted with another vote on the ordinance, according to the interpretation given at the council meeting.
Leonard said he would like the council to reconsider it immediately. Noting he had been in the building multiple times, he said the building will need much work by carpenters, a plumber and an electrician before it is made ready for a commercial enterprise.
That would mean three to four jobs that could start immediately, Leonard said.
Bahr refused to relent, saying that Blair could wait until the council meets again in January.
"I'm not trying to submarine this guy," he said, adding that Leonard and Blair would have "only… two weeks to wait."
The next meeting will be Monday, Jan. 6, which is three weeks away.
Leonard was asked if he wanted to enter a motion to reconsider.
"I don't think I can," he said, noting that he voted in favor, and his interpretation of the city's rules is that it would take one of the eight negative voters to bring it back up.
None of them entered a motion to reconsider.