RINCON — Their pleas didn’t fall on deaf ears because of eyes that were looking at the future.
During an Oct. 28 meeting, the Rincon City Council rejected a petition filed for a zoning map amendment for a two-acre parcel West Ninth Street. The unanimous vote came after about half a dozen residents, mostly senior citizens, voiced concerns about how the project would impact population density, crime and traffic.
Construction Development Investors sought to have the zoning changed from R-4 (single-family residential) to R-8 (duplexes and townhouses). Its goal, which would have required the approval of a variance to achieve, was to construct six buildings on the parcel with four two- or three-bedroom units.
“We aren’t saying that growth is bad,” Councilman Paul Wendelken said. “We are saying that there are things that we need to do to plan for the growth and West Ninth (Street), Blandford (Road), Blue Jay (Road) — whatever section you are on is what it is called — has been a problem for us for years.
“We’ve talked about widening it for at least 15-20 years and we’ve never done it. We still need to do it ...”
Wendelken said adding townhouses in the area would greatly increase the tax value of the property, making it more costly to acquire the footage needed for street widening.
“We’re not saying you can’t do it. We’re not saying that we don’t want you to do it. We’re just saying that we’ve got to make sure as a city that we are ready for what you want to do and are prepared for it,” he said. “If we are ready, we will welcome it if it fits into the plan.”
“Growth is a timing issue,” Councilman Kevin Exley added. “It is for us as well. That’s why I say what I say.
“Nobody is opposing your plan but the timing of it is not good. We are not prepared for it and not being prepared for it puts (current West Ninth Street residents) in a bad spot.”
In other action, the council voted unanimously to roll back the millage rate of 4.58 to zero, extending Rincon’s streak of not have a property tax to 23 years. The gap is covered by a Local Option Sales Tax.
The council also approved changes to water bills, including going from a letter form to a postcard. In addition, the date for late fees to start accruing was changed to the 21st. Disconnections for delinquent payments were moved to the 1st.
Another change is that the term “administration fee” will replace “interrupted fee.”
The changes will go into effect next early next year.