The Rexburg City Council voted to deny the rezoning of 525 E. Seventh N. from low-density to medium-density, at the May 5 city council meeting.
The developers had previously approached the city council to request a zoning change for the area in order to build apartment buildings.
At a city council meeting on April 7, residents brought up issues that the new developments will cause with drainage ditches. During that meeting, the council tabled the decision until further information from the developers and engineers over the project could be obtained.
Several residents felt that the council avoided making a decision and by so doing disrespected the opinions of the residents of Rexburg.
Four Rexburg residents who live around the development site came to Wednesday’s city council meeting to voice their concerns about a new development in the area.
“We just don’t want to see the city of Rexburg, I don’t know, not be the city of Rexburg,” Tina Brower said at Wednesday’s meeting.
Brower moved to Rexburg from California several years ago and now resides in a subdivision near the development site.
Other residents who live nearby voiced similar concerns. They felt worried that apartment buildings for rent would bring transient residents to Rexburg and said they would prefer single-family homes be built in the area instead.
Councilperson Tisha Flora asked that the council refrain from further discussion until they received and looked over the information requested by the developers, but other council members stated that their opinions would not change based on that information.
After hearing the statements from those who wanted to speak about the issue, the council brought the issue off the table in order to discuss it further and vote on a course of action.
Councilperson Bryanna Johnson argued that the neighborhood is at the edge of the city limits and seemed an inconvenient place to build new apartment buildings since it is farther away from the city.
The city has seen several new developments in the past years, with many new apartment buildings bringing young families to the area. The U.S. census reports a 15% increase in population since 2010. Less than half of Rexburg’s population live in houses that they own.
“It’s all market-driven,” Mayor Jerry Merrill said during the meeting. He continued to explain that if people didn’t want to rent apartments, then the developers wouldn’t feel the need to build them.
Councilperson Christopher Mann moved to deny the zoning change and was seconded by councilperson Johnson. The motion was supported by four of the five council members present.
After the vote was recorded, Ruben Miller, the resident who originally brought the issue of drainage ditches to the attention of the council, thanked the council members for making the community members’ concerns a priority.
Denying the request to change the zoning of the area would still allow the developer to build low-density housing in that area such as single-family homes or townhouses.