After weeks of heated debate, a zoning change has been approved for the former fish lab building in Riverside Park.
Just one city council member opposed the plan to allow the building to be put to commercial use, for an AirBNB or a venue for wedding parties.
Neighbors of the park have been vocal in their opposition, and council member Andrea Richmond said she’s troubled by the dealing that went on before the zoning was debated.
“I think it’s totally wrong, ” said Richmond, who claimed the city put the “cart before the horse” in negotiating with developers for months before requesting the zoning change. Opponents have called that unethical, and applauded Richmond for speaking out against how the project has proceeded.
Another council member, Mark Neumann, says he was hurt to read disparaging remarks people have made about the project.
“We hurt ourselves a lot when we presume that somebody’s doing something nefarious,” said Neumann, just elected to the city council this year. “We might be clumsy, but I don’t find any action that’s nefarious.”
On another project, the council voted to postpone a zoning change to let the Bethany Lutheran homes put up a 4-story building at its site on 7th Street. Neighbors of the nursing home are concerned that the project could lead to construction of even taller buildings in the mostly residential area near the river.