Letter: Shortsighted city council doesn’t see big picture

By Staff Reports – 

To the Editor:

For all the lip service given to a comprehensive plan for Lebanon’s future, the Lebanon City Council is about to act in direct opposition to it.

Despite current neighborhood zoning, the unanimous recommendation of the planning commission and the wishes of every single surrounding family on the street, the city council is poised to approve rezoning of the property at 110 S. Hatton St. from residential to office professional. This is a textbook example of arbitrary and capricious singling out of a specific parcel for a use classification totally different from the surrounding area for the sole benefit of the property owner.

In defense of its wrongheaded decision, Ward 3 Councilor Camille Burdine and other council members have attempted to distort the reality of the nature of the property and surrounding neighborhood through several erroneous assertions.

Burdine argued that the house is surrounded by commercial properties. It’s not. Every adjacent property is zoned residential.

The refrain among council members is the home is only one house off Main Street. This is also inaccurate. The home is behind the library, which runs four houses deep into the street on the other side.

Burdine has also argued the higher sale price paid by a business will improve our home values. It won’t. Business comps aren’t used for pricing residential properties.

The council has been deaf to the voices of residents and to reason itself. The shortsightedness of this decision leads, unfortunately, to a much broader concern. Does the city council have a vision for Lebanon or will it continue to treat each issue as an isolated and disconnected event?

That was certainly not the tone set by the Lebanon Comprehensive Plan Task Force Committee, which has been meeting for the past year to develop a long-term vision for our city. As part of the Lebanon Forward 2040 Bicentennial Comprehensive Plan, the committee identified “planning (zoning) contextual growth” as one of its five primary goals with a focus on, among other things, “the preservation of the downtown area (and) neighborhood stabilization and succession.”

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Contributor: Glenn Hopper, Lebanon

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