Wright City

Wright City board continues to consider zoning measures

By Jack Underwood, Staff Writer
Posted 6/27/24

For the second consecutive meeting, the Wright City Board of Aldermen has had to consider property owners looking to build a home in one of the city's C-4 commercial districts.

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Wright City

Wright City board continues to consider zoning measures


For the second consecutive meeting, the Wright City Board of Aldermen has had to consider property owners looking to build a home in one of the city’s C-4 commercial districts. 

Under the city’s comprehensive plan, C-4 commercial districts allow for mixed commercial use for businesses like gas stations but do not allow for residential use. While there are homes in the current C-4 districts they are effectively grandfathered in with the current guidelines. 

Under the current ordinances, if those homes currently in C-4 districts are vacant for more than six months they automatically transfer back to C-4 commercial and can no longer be used for residential development according to Hakim. 

In other words, new property owners or owners of undeveloped land looking to build homes in these districts would have to seek changes to the city’s zoning ordinances to build as they see fit. 

While Alderman Ramiz Hakim was sympathetic to these issues, he wanted to mark the importance of the city’s commercial property for the future growth of the area.

“We can’t eat up all of our commercial space and only have homes there,” said the alderman. “We won’t be able to provide any additional amenities to our current residents that moved out this way and expected maybe some modest growth, but with the anticipation that eventually we would get additional restaurants or other businesses that could help serve the community.”

Hakim said that while there are pathways that these residents can use in an attempt to amend the laws and move forward with their desired developments, they must be conducted in the public eye. 

Zoning district changes require a public hearing before a change is considered so that other nearby property owners can address their concerns or voice their support. With this in mind, he said himself and the other aldermen were actively working on other solutions, although he was not optimistic. 

He said that it was important that the city maintain its commercially zoned property to keep it available for future development. 

“We are quickly running out of commercial space, especially on the I-70 corridor, where a lot of the C-4 stuff sits, … And for the city to grow in a healthy and wholesome way, we’ve got to have a healthy business district and that C-4 plays a big role in that,” Hakim said

Changes to zoning laws have been discussed at board meetings such as amending the C-4 ordinances to allow residential construction as well as expanding nearby C-5 commercial districts which allow for a wider variety of uses. 

Hakim said he did have concerns about these solutions as well. 

Specifically, while C-5 commercial does allow for residential construction the regulations for building setbacks in C-5 are completely different and would allow for construction that neighboring properties may find undesirable. 

He was also concerned about the possibility of “spot zoning” or changing zoning districts for specific properties to allow uses that would otherwise be prohibited.

“The concern is, you don’t want a checkerboard of zoning laws where you have a gas station sitting between two residences, it affects people’s quality of life, it disrupts expectations of their own personal privacy and their right to enjoy their private property,” Hakim said. 

Regardless, Hakim and the board have been open to these discussions and working with citizens to find amenable solutions, although the path is difficult. 

He said that any changes made to the city’s zoning ordinances would have to take place in the public eye, with hearings first before the Planning and Zoning Commission and then subsequently in front of the board. 

That citizen input is not only important but required by law, and those citizens looking to make the changes are working with the board to find solutions. 

“I’m empathetic to people that want to use their property and enjoy it in a specific way, but that’s restricted by zoning. I’m also empathetic to rezoning and then opening up other issues down the road for other people, and that if we don’t consider those things, we’ll just have other people come into the board meeting asking for adjustments,” Hakim said.

Wright City, Zoning