MT. VERNON, IL — The Mt. Vernon City Council spent the bulk of their Monday night meeting hearing from and discussing an application to rezone property in the Queens Lake neighborhood.
C. Kent and Marina J. Renshaw applied to have property at 501 S. 34th Street rezoned from an AG General Agriculture to a R-1 Low Density Residential classification. Kent Renshaw had his application go before the Zoning & Planning Commission and fall to a 3-2 vote for the commission to not recommend the City Council approve the application. The issue was on the agenda for the Council’s meeting on Monday and garnered lots of discussion from council members, Renshaw himself, as well as opponents to his application in attendance.
Reid Sipe spoke for those in attendance, and some that weren’t, who had signed a petition to not allow Renshaw to build a building in this lot he was attempting to get re-classified. Sipe said, “Residents of the neighborhood don’t want to have an outbuilding as they first thing seen when people would approach Queens Lake from 34th Street and the last thing those exiting the neighborhood on that street will remember.” Sipe also mentioned that there is not currently any outbuildings of the size Renshaw was hoping to build in the neighborhood.
Renshaw would later address the council. He explained that he had purchased a strip of land for $30,000 behind his house in 2017 in hopes one day to construct a garage for woodworking. Renshaw commented that he wasn’t sure where Sipe was getting his information on the size of the building and questioned the petitioning process itself, saying some of the names on the petition were signed by people he spoke with that didn’t know that’s what it was for.
Councilman Donte Moore was one of 3 councilmembers who spoke to Renshaw about the building during the meeting. Councilman Moore said his problems are with the classifications of the land inside the rules.
Mayor John Lewis suggested to Renshaw that he go back to his neighbors door-to-door or work up some plans to show everyone his ideas on the building and maybe that might sway some citizens from opponents to proponents of his project. Mayor Lewis also mentioned that he had not spoke to anyone that was in favor of the application/project. Lewis said he doesn’t feel anything should be forced on a neighborhood if that’s how they all truly feel. He also mentioned that he does not like to go against the recommendation of the Zoning & Planning Commission unless it’s for a very good reason.
Renshaw would eventually withdraw his application causing the council, who had already made a motion and second on the issue, to amend that and accept his withdrawal. Renshaw can now re-file as if he had never filed in the first place after withdrawing the original application.