More negotiations needed before Jessen zoning exception is allowed

(Terry Jessen)

Gering Mayor Ed Mayo says more negotiations are needed before they will allow businessman Terry Jessen an exception in the city's zoning laws to build a private repair garage. The council held an over two hour public hearing on the request, which has been slowed by concerns the garage, which is located close to city wells, could contaminate the city's water supply.

It has also been delayed by council concerns about what exactly will be built on the lot in back of Jessen's Tax Express building. Jessen initially wanted to build storage lots at the location, then said it would be a machine shop and under the latest permit application said it would be a private repair garage to repair antique tractors and cars for resale. The exception is because the property is located in highway commercial zoning, and any repair garage should be built for public use.

Because the lot is within 500 feet of a city wellhead, the council asked city staff to negotiate a wellhead protection agreement to protect the city's water supply. Jessen may also be required to pay for half of the cost to pave the street adjacent to his lot if development warrants and pay for an extension of utilities. The council at their next meeting will open the public hearing again and consider the negotiated agreement before considering the exception request again.

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