The Union City Council voted to deny two requests for land use zone changes Monday night, including one that could have led to the creation of a recreational vehicle park.
The request involving the potential RV park would have changed a site of about 2.5 acres, at 660 E. Beakman St., from a residential zone to a heavy commercial use zone. Coy Wilde, the owner of the land, said the change he requested would have allowed him to create an RV park with a capacity of 15-20 recreational vehicles.
Those who spoke out against the zoning change included one Union resident who said he was concerned that many of the people staying at the RV park would be walking in and out of the park in front of his family’s home. Wilde agreed that this would pose a problem and said he planned to put in vegetation or a fence to block the family’s view of the proposed RV park. According to Wilde, this family would be the only residents impacted by the RV park.
Wilde said the RV park would benefit Union’s economy by bringing in many people who might stay 15-30 days at a time.
“In the summer, it would be like adding 1,000 people,” Wilde said.
A number of councilors, plus Mayor Leonard Flint, said they supported the creation of an RV park but noted that if the zoning change was made, there was no guarantee that another business not fit to be next to a residential area might later take its place.
The council voted 3-1 to deny Wilde’s request.
The Union City Council also voted to deny a request to change the zoning of land at 103 N. Bellwood St., 375 Arch St. and 415 E. Arch St. from commercial to
residential. The request was made by Frank and Jane Wentzel of Union, the owners of the parcels of land, which are each about 1 to 1.5 acres.
Jane Wentzel told the council that putting homes on the lots would help Union by adding to the base of homeowners who pay water and sewer fees. Wentzel also spoke to the city council at its July 8 meeting. At that meeting she said, according to council minutes, that she believed few lots are for sale in Union and there has not been business interest in these three lots, only residential interest.
Wentzel said the land would be excellent for homes.
“I think it would be ideal,” she said of the land, which is near Catherine Creek.
A number of councilors said they were worried that changing the zoning would hurt Union by reducing the land available for businesses.
The council voted 3-1 to deny the Wentzels’ request.
Also on Monday it was announced by City Administrator Doug Wiggins that Walt Brookshire has resigned. Brookshire stepped down in July because he is making Cove his new residence. Brookshire is the owner of Union Drug Co., but recently sold the building that houses his business. Brookshire will continue operating Union Drug Co. in the building he once owned.
Brookshire was appointed to the city council about 2-1/2 years ago to fill a vacancy. Brookshire was elected to a four-year term in November of 2018.
Brookshire grew up in Union, earned a degree in pharmacy from Oregon State University and returned to Union in the early 1990s, purchasing Union Drug Co. in 1994.
Brookshire said that serving on the council was a lot of work but rewarding.
“I think we got a lot accomplished,” he said.
Brookshire said he believes the city is now in a good place, because of its councilors, mayor and administrator.
The city council will later appoint someone to fill the vacancy created by Brookshire’s resignation. The City of Union will accept applications through the end of the month, then will vet the applicants to make sure they are eligible to serve on the council. The council will next interview all qualified applicants at a public meeting before making an appointment. Applications are available at city hall, 342 S. Main St.