City Council Schedules Meeting about Historic Districts

In response to Mayor Cheri Barry's veto of a moratorium approved earlier this week, the Meridian City Council will hold a meeting Monday.

By a 3-to-2 vote the Meridian City Council approved the moratorium Tuesday. It prohibited the issuance of commercial building permits within a 100 block area that included portions of two historic districts.

The moratorium was triggered by an effort earlier this spring to build a Dollar General store along 24th Avenue and 18th Street in the Midtown Historic District. Despite a recommendation by the city's planning commission to rezone that area from B1 -- which is for transitional businesses such as doctor's, lawyers' or real estate offices that are located in houses --to B2, which is for more commercial developments like neighborhood pharmacies and stores.

The city council voted 'No' to the request twice. That's when the developer for the Dollar General switched gears and looked to instead build the store less than a mile from the original site.

The new proposed site is where a car wash once operated across from Point Rexall and the Nixie Gas Station. Serving as a divider for the Poplar Springs and Midtown Historic Districts, the proposed site is part of a small portion of the 100 blocks affected by the moratorium that's not officially within a historic district.

The space in between the Midtown and Poplar Springs Historic District where the store could locate was carved out at the same time that the two historic districts were created,' says Community Development Director for the City of Meridian, Connie Royal. 'It was carved out because it didn't have the contributing factors needed to meet the criteria of a historic district and it already had B-2 commercial properties in it. So, it would not have met the criteria to be carved out to go into one of he historic districts.'

'With that being said, this private business went and looked for private property in another area and it has a contract for private property in a B2 zoning,' says Mayor Cheri Barry. 'So really, legally, there's nothing the government can do to stop this because this is entrepreneurship at its best.'

To overturn the mayor's veto, the council needs to vote at least four to one. Mayor Barry does not expect that to happen. If it doesn't, this will give the green light to the Dollar General project.

'Right now they're still in the stage that they're working with the contract they have with the property owner,' says Royal. 'They could turn in plans at any time, but that is up to them.'

In all, 86 businesses are located in the 100 block area affected by the moratorium. The Meridian City Council's next meeting on the issue will be Monday at 5:30 at Union Station.

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