City council rejects re-zoning plans for lot in Historic East Urbana

By Crystal Kang

The Urbana City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday night denying the re-zoning of a 0.24 acre parcel located at 708 South Vine Street in Urbana, Ill. Mojo Properties, LLC, petitioned to re-zone this vacant lot in Historic East Urbana from an R-3 (single or duplex-family residential) to an R-4 (multiple family residential).

The Urbana Plan Commission expressed their concern about re-zoning because this plan may allow property owners to build multi-family homes that replace historic homes in east Urbana.

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Some Urbana residents voiced their opinion about maintaining a quieter neighborhood and preventing multi-family households from emerging in east Urbana.

“Re-zoning to allow multi-family homes will not be an improvement to an overly dense neighborhood,” said Urbana resident Jeannie Covert. “South Urbana is quiet. It’s a wonderful transition between … commerical and residential (areas).”

Others said that Historic East Urbana was turning into rental property when its original intent was to preserve the single and duplex family homes.

“The whole neighborhood is becoming rental property,” said Urbana resident DJ Meyer. “It’s sickening to see there are homes being rented out by tenants who don’t care.”

Ward 6 Alderman Heather Stevenson said the layout of the property does not fit the scheme of the neighborhood.

This particular property exists on Vine Street but faces sideways, so the entrance is pointed toward another neighbor’s side panel, Covert said.

“We don’t want blank walls facing the streets,” said Ward 4 Alderman Brandon Bowersox.