Resident opposes rezoning proposal

As predicted by Keystone Custom Homes President Drew Swope recently, opposition has surfaced to his request to rezone one-third of a split-zoned parcel bisected by Penn Circle at Beckman Drive.

The opposition surfaced at the most recent City Council meeting, when neighbor Cindy Osewalt of Morningside Avenue asked council to reject the request to change the ground from suburban residential to multi-housing, a request made so Swope can build a pair of duplexes.

The rezoning proposal, endorsed by the city Planning Commission, could come before council July 12.

Granting the request could affect the quality of life for her and at least one neighbor who accompanied her to the meeting, Osewalt said.

Rezoning the ground would be an example of spot zoning, widely considered an undesirable practice, according to Osewalt. If Swope gets his way, there would be nothing to prevent him from building townhouses, which would be even worse, according to Osewalt.

At that point, there would be no chance to stop him, she said.

His only goal is to make money, she added.

Swope can’t legitimately claim that the current zoning inflicts an unfair hardship, because he knew what it was when he acquired the property, she said.

Swope told the Planning Commission that if the property is rezoned, he would build a barrier of vegetation to shield it from the neighbors who don’t want to see it.

The commission voted to recommend his proposal to council after one member called the current zoning situation there “odd,” and another said granting the proposal would “clean that parcel up.”

Osewalt called the current situation a “mess,” but said the proposed change would make it worse.

She invited council members to see for themselves.

“I’ll go visit,” said Councilman Dave Butter­baugh.