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Coupeville leaders look to define open space

Several Coupeville residents criticized plans to rezone a rural entry into town.

Coupeville leaders want to rezone open fields and woods on the west side of town known as Krueger Farm into the same zoning designation conferred on all the parks in town. However, some residents argue the town should develop a zoning that is a better fit for the area.

"If the intent was for open space, then create an open space zone," resident Ken Pickard said during Tuesday's marathon public meeting in front of the town council. The council held a public meeting Tuesday night to consider a variety of amendments to the town code and land use maps.

Pickard's sentiments were echoed by Buell Neidlinger.

"I object to any open space described in any other way than open space," Neidlinger said.

"We're getting tired of this sociopathic nonsense,” he added, referring to people parking on the property, next to the community garden.

Several years ago, residents worked together to preserve a large swath of the field and woods surrounding the Foursquare Church on Broadway from development. A conservation easement was placed on four acres and the town acquired land to be used as open space.

Town Planner Larry Kwarsick said that the land should be placed in the public/quasi public zoning because it's the same zoning that is used for all the parks.

He said he understands that the public/quasi public designation makes people uneasy, but the label is the tool the town currently uses to zone its parks.

Changing the land from its current residential zoning will add more protections to the property.

"It's a step in the right direction and maybe we need to go further," Kwarsick said. He suggested the council amend the zoning ordinance to look at developing an open space designation to bring forward at a future date.

The council members agreed to amended the proposal to say the town should consider an open space designation. Several council members debated the wording of the amendment. Molly Hughes wanted the amendment to say "consider open space," while Ann Dannhauer wanted the amendment to say "establish open space."

In the end, Hughes' version won out and the council approved the zoning change four to one. Dannhauer voted against it saying the amendment concerning open space was too weak.

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