The City of Ottawa is no different than any other community. We need tax revenue.

When Ottawa can get that new tax revenue, enhance a property and enable a local business to expand, everyone wins. Such is a situation now facing Ottawa planning commissioners. Commissioners have the opportunity to give the nod to proposed rezoning of the northwest corner of Ninth and Main streets. The move would change the site from a C-1 (office and service business district) to MU/RC (mixed use/residential-commercial district). If approved by planners, the rezoning then would be passed to the Ottawa City Commission for a vote.

The change in zoning would enable an Ottawa business to raze the former Ottawa Community Church, 109 W. Ninth St., which has been for sale for many years and — like other religious institutions — doesn’t currently pay property taxes. It also would bring a commercial business to the intersection, which already features three commercial enterprises.

About 2 1/2 years ago, a rezoning effort for another commercial enterprise — Family Video — was proposed for the same corner. That effort ultimately failed.

This time, the stars might be in better alignment for such a change because the potential purchaser plans to leave the church’s residential parsonage in place to provide a buffer between the commercial enterprise and homeowners on Ninth Street, and a planned privacy fence on the north side of the site would provide a buffer on that side too. Plus this retail venture is half the size — 3,540 square feet — rather than the previously planned 6,250-square-feet site Family Video requested. The smaller footprint of the proposed grocery/liquor store also requires less parking space so the corner can better accommodate the smaller venue.

Based on the different set of circumstances, city planning employees said they recommend the proposed zoning change. A public hearing on the request is set for 7 p.m. April 11 at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. The final decision will be made by Ottawa city commissioners.

We hope planners see the wisdom of this economic development project and give it the go-ahead it deserves.


— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher