By: Jesse Davis
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The Swanton Village Council held a special meeting Monday to hear questions and concerns regarding the rezoning of the “West Park” property, located along West Airport Highway behind the current Dollar General and Swanton Church of the Nazarene.
The proposed change from “central business” B3 to “light industrial” M1 drew a public hearing, but no public.
Village Administrator Shannon Shulters noted that the hearing had been advertised in the newspaper and that neighbors had been notified.
The only contact she reported receiving was from one nearby property owner who had only a couple of general questions which she answered.
According to Shulters there has also been no interest in the property so far, with it advertised at the B3 zoning.
Mayor Neil Toeppe said the Planning Commission heard from the current property owner regarding the proposed change and was encouraged by that.
He also said the proposal lines up with what he’s been hearing regarding regional economic development.
“At the economic development meeting last month – over the last several months – we’ve heard from a lot of economic development professionals and industrial realtors who have said that we have a dearth of commercial property and … very little industrial property,” Toeppe said.
He added that those professionals said there was a greater need for light industrial property than for commercial property, especially since Covid started keeping people home.
Toeppe said the types of facilities that might be interested under its proposed zoning included “crane companies, commercial laundries, film processing, food, clothing, musical instruments, paper, cellphones, kitchen items, fertilizers, computing products, medicine, soda, shoes, chemical processing, furniture, detergents … there’s a lot of light industry that might be attracted to this property.”
Shulters said even if the council eventually votes for final approval of the zoning change, the village will still be making sure any businesses who are given consideration for the property would make sense in the zone and not disrupt existing industry.
During the regular council meeting following the public hearing, its members voted to approve the zoning change on its first reading. A second reading and vote will take place at the council’s next meeting.
Jesse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org