ROCHELLE — Rochelle Planning and Zoning Commission members voted unanimously to appoint Wendell “Pal” Colwill as chairman of the commission Monday night. Colwill was a current member of the city’s planning and zoning commission and fills the chairman vacancy left by Dr. Joe Thoele who resigned the seat in December.
Gary Chiavini was appointed by Mayor John Bearrows to fill the vacancy left by Colwill and Jacob Becker was appointed to fill the open ‘at large’ position left with Chiavini moving to the voting member position.
Commissioners approved a conditional use permit request for Living Water Community Church Monday evening.
The petitioners are considering purchasing the property addressed 401 and 405 N. Main Street, which is zoned B-1 Commercial Central Business. The property was granted a conditional use permit on May 9, 2016 which was to expire two years after the date of the ordinance; however, Living Water Community Church is still operating out of this location and would now like to buy the property.
The property fronts N. Main Street in the downtown business district.
“The petitioner is seeking a conditional use for a place of worship. The petitioner is asking for the conditional use to transfer upon sale to the new owner and no limitation on the duration of the conditional use so that they can continue to operate as a place of worship after the sale of the building,” City of Rochelle Community Development Specialist Michelle Knight said.
During the public hearing held about the conditional use permit, church elder Brent Braski, was available to answer questions.
Commissioner Kurt Wolter asked if the church has had any issues with other business owners in the area since opening the church nearly two years ago.
“We have had no issues with anyone since we have been in the space,” Braski answered.
Chairman Colwill questioned whether the insurance office currently in the corner location would be continuing to occupy the space once the church purchased the building.
“The insurance office has a lease for the space, but we are looking to purchase the whole section…we would continue a lease with them and look at our options in the future. We would like to own both sections of the building,” Braski clarified.
“To speak on our behalf of the city, they have been amazing neighbors. Whenever we host events in the Main Street parking lot they open up their space for craft shows, for hot cocoa for people to be in and out. The group has also volunteered now to take care of the flower beds, pull weeds across the street. So, they have been great neighbors to the city,” community development director Michelle Pease said.
After closing the public hearing, commissioners voted 7-0 to approve the request for a conditional use permit for Living Water Community Church.