Wright City officials failed to attend a public hearing before the Warren County Commission designed to change zoning requirements for self-storage businesses.
The three Warren County commissioners gathered Aug. 8 for a public hearing to hear concerns about changing zoning requirements for self-storage units.
The meeting had been heavily promoted by officials in Wright City, and when the issue came before the county Planning and Zoning Commission in June, a number of city officials and citizens came out to speak in favor of the change.
But during the hearing on Aug. 8, no one from Wright City was present to speak.
Two women were present in the audience, but the lectern and the list of speakers was empty.
Commissioners briefly delayed the opening of the public hearing because of the lack of a Wright City representatives..
“I’ll give her five minutes,” Presiding Commissioner Joe Gildehaus said, referring to Mayor Michelle Heiliger.
Neither Heiliger nor anyone else from Wright City arrived in that allotted five minutes.
Gildehaus then gaveled the public hearing to order at 1:05 p.m.
“The applicant is not in attendance,” Gildehaus said. “So as commissioners, would you like to postpone this to another date or start all over? I’d rather personally postpone this to another date and go from there, at the expense of the applicant.”
The commissioners agreed, and voted 3-0 to postpone the meeting. There was no further discussion.
No date was given for the rescheduled public hearing. The new date will have to be publicized for 15 days before it can occur, and commissioners said they’re schedule is “swamped” for the next few weeks.
In an email to The Record, Heiliger said the lack of attendance was an oversight on the part of the city.
“I deeply regret the absence of any Wright City representatives at the hearing,” Heiliger said in the email. “The unanimous approval of the change to the ordinance by the Planning and Zoning Board led us to believe that our attendance at the subsequent hearing was not necessary. … I assure you, we remain fully committed to engaging in this process and will take measures to ensure that such misunderstandings are avoided in the future. I have already spoken to Commissioner Gildehaus and he has committed to ensuring we are aware of the future date and time of the next hearing.”
At issue is whether self-storage businesses must obtain a conditional use permit before building their facility on county land currently zoned for agricultural use.
The Warren County Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved a change to the current ordinance, sending it to the County Commission for final approval.
That vote has now been delayed because it cannot occur until after the rescheduled public hearing.
“I’m so sorry,” Gildehaus told the two women in the audience.
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at email@example.com
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here