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Planners won't recommend approval of zoning change for proposed residential support facility

Sun Advocate associate editor

The county's planning and zoning commission has recommended denial for a proposed residential home for disabled persons in Spring Glen. It was not that the commissioners had a problem with the idea of Rise, Inc. caring for people. They were mainly concerned about issues that spot zoning a rural residential lot for commercial purposes could lead to in the future.

Lisa Breitenstein of Rise assured the commission that the home the company wanted lease would offer strictly residential support for about a half dozen people, with no treatment or rehabilitation. But the word "lease" drew a response from Mike Milovich.

If the county were to rezone to permit a commercial operation, then the zoning would remain even if Rise should move out. That could open the door for treatment facilities such as a drug rehab home to move in, he warned.

"I think you're going to have an uphill battle on this," he told Breitenstein. Neighbors would probably oppose the Rise facility when the county commission held the required public hearing on rezoning.

Don Torgerson agreed. "Property owners went there because it is residential," he said. Rezoning would be inconsistent with the approved plan for the neighborhood.

Lynna Topolovec had a problem with the access to the property. It is an unpaved road which might not hold up well under the traffic of staff coming and going, especially in bad weather.

While the planners voted to send an unfavorable recommendation to the county commission, Milovich advised Breitenstein not to give up hope. The county owns some property behind the ambulance garage on Airport Road that is already zoned for commercial use. It is closer town and amenities than the out-of-the-way home in Spring Glen.

While he did not know what the appraised value of the would be, Breitenstein agreed to take a look at it.

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