Gering council denies adding storage units on M Street

The Gering city council Monday night voted 7-1 to deny a special zoning exception requested by businessman Neal Smith to construct additional storage units on M Street.

The lone no vote came from Dan Smith, who maintained the city needed to take another look at its master plan because it was not feasible under the current zoning to put retail or office space on the property. His motion to approve Smith's request died for a lack of a second.

City Administrator Lane Danielzuk explained that rules adopted previously by the Planning Commission did not allow for storage units at the location with the current zoning. The Planning Commission was apparently unaware of the rules when they recommended Smith's request on a 4-3 vote. Smith said he would have never asked for the exception if Danielzuk had informed him previously.

Smith said his request was made to complete a project that was only "half finished." But outgoing council member Manuel Escamilla said the council needed to think about what they wanted their main east-west treet to look like in the future. Other council members said they did not like the fact Smith was not specific on whether he would build one or three additional units.

Doctors at the adjacent Gering Medical Clinic had also threatened to leave the community if the units were constructed, citing loss of property value. Several residents and businessmen in the area of M Street, however, supported the idea, saying storage units were better than a vacant lot.

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