Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

May 15, 2013

Attempt to rezone mansion fails

Heavy opposition from mayor's office splits vote 5-4.

(Continued)

Neighbor Susan Zerbe, who has a Victorian mansion two doors down, joked that her house was a “money pit,” and said she doubts a young family would be able to afford to maintain something like the Bolinger mansion.

“There’s no way people this day and age can comply with something like that,” she said. “Young people these days want to live in the suburbs ... the way the economy is now, they may not even be able to afford something like that.”

City officials have stuck by a policy of trying to get business development to at least consider reusing vacant commercial properties before building on greenspace or allowing residential property to be rezoned, McCormack said.

City director of operations Randy McKay was adamant the rezoning could jeopardize the neighborhood.

“If you allow this rezoning, you’re really undermining every effort we’ve tried to accomplish over the last few years,” McKay told the council.

Councilman Tom Miklik, R-6th, who voted for the rezoning, said he thought Nice’s plan “is the best way to maintain the historic motif of the home and neighborhood,” and dismissed McKay’s argument as “overstated.”

Councilman Bob Cameron, D-2nd, went further, and suggested some ulterior motive was behind the city’s opposition.

“There’s something underlying why you’re pushing us so hard on this, that’s just my gut feeling,” Cameron said.

Cameron also raised the specter of the massive fight in the early 1980s to designate most of the Silk Stocking neighborhood as a historic district.

That push, which failed narrowly in one of the best-attended third reading votes in city council history, would have kept the district as a single-family residential area, with strict standards for maintaining the old mansions in a historically authentic manner.

Cameron said Monday the historic district measure failed because it would have been too expensive for homeowners.

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