MURPHYSBORO — For now, Murphysboro will be leaving the zoning as it is along a stretch of Walnut Street where owners of a convenience store had hoped to expand it.
That concerns an area zoned as residential, that the city council was considering changing to business to allow Casey's General Store to expand.
At its last city council meeting, aldermen voted 6 to 3, with one abstention, to not approve the proposal amending a zoning ordinance to change a residential strip of the 2100 block of Walnut Street to a business zone.
The council voted to table the matter until a later meeting.
A handful of area residents came to the meeting to inquire about the change, saying they had gotten a letter from the city about the proposed change, but were unclear about what the zoning change would mean for them and their properties.
“We worked very, very hard to get that area moved from business to residential, and this council did that,” resident Byron York said. “. . . But it happened just before Casey’s came, and Casey’s slipped in there under the (wire). . . When I asked how did Casey’s got in there when that was residential, I was told the residential hadn’t taken effect. . . it was just a matter of a week or two weeks.”
York's daughter also attended the meeting, telling the council that she lived on the street when the change was made and that she was concerned about what it might mean for current residents.
“I went door to door and asked people if they had gotten a letter and had they read it and were they aware (of what those letter means),” she said. “And most people said they didn’t know what it meant, just had a bunch of letters in it. ... As a citizen, those letters don’t really give us the idea of what it is you’re really trying to do ... I, as a citizen of Murphysboro, would request that you take a little bit more time to make such a big decision that affects so many people’s houses.”
York and council and city officials discussed the impact that such a change might make for homeowners, who could find themselves with a home, should it be heavily damaged, not able to salvage with insurance claims.
“Would any of you buy a house there if it were in that business zone and you knew that if something happened to it, you couldn’t ... well, you’d lose your shirt, ‘cause you’d have to pay to tear it down,” York said. “The insurance doesn’t pay to tear it down. So, you’d have to use the insurance money to tear it down and clean the lot up, and then it wouldn’t be worth anything ‘cause you couldn’t build a house on it again. And I don’t understand why that has to be.”
The council next meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14.