Plans For New Land Use Committee

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Hillsboro will have a Future Land Use Plan committee in place by late January of 2021 if a timeline established at a planning commission meeting held Thursday morning, Dec. 17, is followed. The city council approved the planning commission’s request to establish such a committee at the council’s Dec. 8 meeting.

Secretary Barb Hewitt served as chairperson in the absence of Tom Gooding, and she asked the planning commissioners to send her names of potential land use committee members after city planner Jonathan Weyer set the parameters for the committee. He discussed three concerns: future use for land the city owns; plans for the recently-annexed Eagle Zinc property (including renaming it); and expansion of city boundaries by more annexation (which Weyer expects to be the most controversial of the three).

Weyer said the committee should be multigenerational with a good mix of technical knowledge. Planning committee members need not be on the land use committee. Weyer anticipates the committee will spend at least a year finishing their work. Hewitt asked that a list of candidates be sent to her before the next meeting so choices can be made. She also asked each commission member to indicate his/her willingness to serve.

Commissioner Don Karban said John Rossi had taken him, Mike Ryan and Ken Schaal on a tour of the Eagle Zinc property. Karban said the existing plat/plan for property use has to be redone because the size of the impoundment area is bigger than the original design anticipated and wetlands have to remain. Ryan said he was amazed by the size of the property; he also acknowledged it would take money for the infrastructure needed to make the site marketable. Weyer said the recently announced state budget cuts would make grants for that type of work harder to obtain.

Hewitt said Imagine Hillsboro’s Reverse Parade seemed well received, though the group had hoped for more floats; they are now working on answering letters to Santa. Karban said the Parks and Recreation Committee is working on streamlining ways to donate to the Central Park Renovation fund. He also contributed a report from the HUD project in the Anna Street area; contracts will be signed for new contracts on Dec. 28.

Grade (drainage) planning continues on the proposed duplex site at the corner of Hickory and South Oak Streets. So does budget work involving overall costs for the project.

Weyer said the next major announcement about businesses coming to empty store fronts in Hillsboro will involve the buildings immediately south of the World Harvest Church on Courthouse Square. Tony Marcolini and Jim May helped the current owner of the Corner Block Building patch a hole in the roof, but an unresolved problem there is possibly rotted rafters supporting the roof.

Work is proceeding on the new bakery (in what was once Lemo’s Tap), with a grand opening planned for March. Weyer also said he’d heard either a county or a state agency is going into McFarland’s Medical Office site. He knows work is ongoing, but he’s had no information of the change yet. Weyer said his goal is to have 100% occupation by the end of 2021, but that the Corner Block Building makes that unlikely.

The commission will next meet on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 12:30 p.m.; both the change in day (from Thursday to Tuesday) and time (from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) are tentative.

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