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City council meets with planning commission

City council meets with planning commission

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ASHLAND – The Ashland City Council held a joint meeting with the Planning Commission to discuss future land use.

City Building Inspector/Zoning Administrator Bill Krejci provided information for the two groups to peruse. He asked them to provide feedback. The city is planning to revamp its future land use map so zoning changes are in compliance, Krejci said.

The floodplain and floodway maps were discussed, which create challenges with development around the city.

The location of business and industry were also on the agenda. Krejci said the city gets calls frequently asking if there is a location available to build a business, but there isn’t a lot of property available.

“Its slim pickings right now,” he said.

It can also be difficult to choose land to locate industry because often the neighbors are against the idea.

Ashland’s historic downtown area is in demand by potential business owners, but supply is all but gone. City Administrator Jessica Quady said they receive many calls at city hall from people interested in locating in Ashland’s downtown area, but there is nothing available.

“Downtown Ashland has a very unique perspective,” added Council Member Chuck Niemeyer.

Jeff Ray of JEO Consulting Group told the combined council and commission that the residential growth Ashland is experiencing right now creates a demand for more businesses as well.

“Your attraction rate is going up,” he said.

The city needs to identify areas for economic growth, Ray said. Highway 66 is the most viable option to locate businesses right now, he added.

Ashland also benefits from proximity to high-traffic entertainment areas like Mahoney State Park, Wildlife Safari Park and Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. But more entertainment options are still needed for the growing population, said Mayor Rick Grauerholz.

“We need to look with planning and zoning at having some of that type of land use available,” he said.

Krejci said the city also needs to balance out the demand for acreages with medium density residential to provide a variety of housing options.

Krejci said he would compile all of the feedback received from the council and commission and provide more information at a future meeting.

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