Zoning change approved unanimously Monday

Zoning change approved unanimously Monday by David Lias The Vermillion City Council gave final approval Monday to a zoning change that will allow light industrial and retail businesses to locate on a parcel of land located east of Princeton Street between West Duke Street and West S.D. Highway 50.

Commonly known as the Anderson Property, the land was annexed into the city approximately a year ago.

The city council learned Monday that there are a variety of views on whether the zoning change ultimately will be good for the city.

There has been speculation this last month in the community that Wal-Mart has plans to locate a retail center on the property.

Homeowners living near the Anderson property noted that the zoning change likely will mean more traffic, noise and light pollution for their neighborhood.

Others worried about the ultimate effect the change will have on existing businesses downtown and on Cherry Street.

"I think you people should take the time to look at the Wal-Mart issue very seriously to determine what the impact would be on our community," Larry Brady, a city businessman, said.

"I don't think that Wal-Mart would be a positive addition to our community," Kelsie Collier said. "I don't think anyone is going to suggest that Vermillion's retail is booming, but whether this is going to help is the real question."

Others voiced support concerning Wal-Mart's interest here.

"Over the years, we've had some big boys come in ? and, yes, it hurts," said Howard Willson, co-owner of Willson Florist on Vermillion's Main Street. "But I survived. I changed my business, and I made it work.

"We need the added tax revenue," he said. "We need the added inventory selection in order to have a growing community."

Mayor Dan Christopherson and Alderman Mary Edelen voted against the ordinance calling for the zoning change when it was brought before the council for its first reading July 6.

Christopherson and Edelen both noted they decided to change their vote after further researching the zoning issue this month.

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