The Union City Council approved a zoning ordinance change Monday that will help a local company expand.

The council voted 4-0 to have the zone of about one acre of land, owned by Lindley Construction at 925 S. Main St., switched from residential to heavy commercial use. The land is part of a 7.4 acre lot where Lindley Construction is based.

Previously half of Lindley’s lot was zoned commercial and the other half was zoned residential. Union City Administrator Doug Wiggins said Lindley Construction wanted the change because it would give the business more room to expand its operation.

The ordinance also calls for the creation of a 60-foot buffer zone along the edge of the land affected by the zoning change. Lindley Construction will not be allowed to put equipment in this area or construct buildings there, Wiggins said.

A number of people expressed concerns at a hearing for the ordinance change prior to the council’s vote. Some said they believed the buffer zone was not wide enough to sufficiently reduce the impact the zone change would have on the neighborhood the construction company is next to. Others said they believed the zone change would result in Lindley Construction using adjacent College Street instead of State Highway 237 more often to get heavy equipment to and from its facility. This would generate more dust because College Street is a gravel road.

The city council was asked during the hearing to take steps encouraging Lindley Construction to use Highway 237 instead of College Street when moving heavy equipment.

Anyone who opposes the zoning change now has 30 days to appeal the city council’s decision to Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals. If an appeal is not filed, the zone change will take effect following the 30-day period.

During the city council meeting’s public comment session, Union’s large deer population was one of the topics discussed.

Timothy Cox of Union said he is concerned about the number of deer in Union and how the animals are becoming more bothersome. Cox urged the city council to address this issue before someone is seriously injured. He said the deer issue has gotten worse since he and his family moved to Union two years ago.

“They are getting a lot tamer,” he said.

Cox said that once a doe was following his daughter and would not leave her until he drove his vehicle between them. On another occasion, he was riding his bike with his family’s dog when a deer began following him. Cox said the deer got to within 10 to 15 feet of him. He said he had to toss a rock at it before it would leave.

Concern was also expressed Monday about the number of people younger than 16 who are riding ATVs in town. Union has an ordinance allowing ATVs to be driven in town but state law prohibits anyone younger than 16 from driving one.

Mayor Leonard Flint advised those concerned about underage ATV drivers to talk to them in a serious manner about what they are doing.

“That usually stops it,” Flint said.

The mayor also suggested people talk to the parents of the drivers. Flint said this can have a big influence on addressing the problem.

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