Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What do you do when both sides are "right?"

A curious conflict arose at Monday night's Pleasant Prairie Plan Commission meeting.

The village planning department proposed rezoning the property off Green Bay Road where the Holy Family Catholic Bookstore is located.

Under the proposal, which was endorsed by the commission on a 5-2 vote, the property would be rezoned from business to institutional with the explanation that a religious bookstore would be included in the "institutional" classification. In other words, it should be business as usual for Holy Family Catholic Bookstore.

But the owner, Wes Ricchio, makes a good point when he says that the "institutional" classification could make it harder for him to sell the property because permitted uses are heavily restricted.

On the other hand, Jean Werbie, the village planner, is also compelling when she points out that a general "business" classification could lead to undesirable businesses, such as an "adult" bookstore, at that location.

Yet Ricchio correctly points out that the land is now classified for "business" purposes and on that basis he spent $200,000 on improvements.

The conflict ignited a spirited debate by the commission which felt torn by Ricchio's legitimate concerns and Werbie's equally plausible warning that the village needs to be consistent with zoning.

Sometimes in life both sides are "right" and this may be one of those times. At the end of the day the village board will have to choose one of the sides. Perhaps down the road if Ricchio needs a variance to move his property, I'd hope that the commission and the board would not equate "consistency" with "rigidity."

1 comment:

Village People said...

Two words--arbitration, Ombudsman