Neighborhood pushing back against potential rezoning change

PADUCAH, KY – One area of town will not be rezoned to be more business friendly —yet.

The Paducah Planning Commission held a public hearing on potentially rezoning a piece of land in Paducah’s Midtown neighborhood. Specifically, it’s the land behind the businesses facing Lone Oak Road to Clark Street and 31st Street.

A developer wants to rezone it from R-1, a moderate residential area, to B-1, the lowest density commercial zoning designation. The commission tabled the discussion, giving two reasons. The developers also put in another rezoning request for this little notch of land. The commission wanted to wait to hold both public comment periods at the same time. They know it’s a big decision, and they say they want to give people the chance to learn more and to speak their minds later this month.

Amber Winkler and Kassie Lane both live in the neighborhood and call each other neighbors and friends. “I come over, I hang out, and we build stuff,” Winkler says.

Winkler has rented a home in the neighborhood for 10 years. She even encouraged Kassie to move in a couple houses down.

She says she’s all for building Paducah up. But, Winkler fears if more businesses are encouraged to move into her neighborhood, it’s going to push them out. “Eventually, no one will come around, or people will move out of this area or away from this area,” she says.

Winkler also wanted to make sure her neighbors knew what could possibly happen if her neighborhood was rezoned, and even made sure to hand out literature. And her neighbors did show up.

But, the commission says they do have one word they have to consider before rezoning the property: change. A commissioner says they have to consider “whether the area has changed in such a way that this rezoning makes sense.”

But in Winkler’s eyes, it doesn’t need to change.

The developer says they want to tear down Wheeler Medical and seven houses behind it to build a parking lot. They own those buildings. Wheeler Medical is getting a new building. Tearing down seven homes means six renters would have to move, but it’s unknown which of the homes would be torn down. The developer did not want to comment further.

The planning commission will hold another public comment hearing on Dec. 18.

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