Kent City Council focuses on zoning law language and rental licensing

By Neville Hardman and Nadia Assim


Kent City Council members discussed issues such as rental licensing and the language of zoning laws in the basement of the fire station Wednesday night.

Reverend Aaron Meadows of Kent Presbyterian Church appeared in front of the council and spoke of zoning laws before the meeting started. The current language promotes the creation of a monopoly for a single landowner as permitted uses in the district, he said. Meadows said the size of the landowner isn’t taken into account, either.

“For those reasons, I encourage a third reading so there’s input from landowners in that area and then at the third reading, I encourage you to vote it down,” Meadows said.

Tracy Wallach, Ward 6 councilwoman, made a motion to amend ordinance draft No. 16-25 to allow the church to be grandfathered in as the ordinance would shift the zoning code of non-educational and non-university owned facilities to conditionally permitted uses and would lower the maximum height permitted.

Roger Sidoti, council-at-large member, seconded the motion.

“This has been an ongoing relationship between the church and the city for years that somehow that relationship has deteriorated to a point where they think they’re not able to do what they want to do,” Sidoti said.

Council-at-large member Melissa Long said she was on the planning commission that approved early plans for the church.

“I saw nothing wrong with it at that time,” Long said. “I see nothing wrong with it now and I don’t see why we should put more restrictions on [the church] just because it had some problems along the way.”

The council allowed the church to be grandfathered in with a 8-1 vote. The meeting lasted about an hour.