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Marshall Field rezone formally denied by City Council

Marshall Field, near the corner of N. Kelsey and Columbia streets.
Jana Alexander Hill file photo

Marshall Field, near the corner of N. Kelsey and Columbia streets.

MONROE — The school district’s proposal for future affordable housing at Marshall Field will not come to fruition.
After many months of deliberation by the planning commission and the city council, a final decision was made at the Dec. 8 council meeting with a 5-1 vote to deny the school district’s request to rezone Marshall Field for multi-family residential use.
Councilmember Kevin Hanford cast the dissenting vote. He said at a previous meeting that he feels the location fit the project and the demand for affordable housing is high.
The rezone amendment was lumped in the docket alongside two other proposed amendments for consideration to the 2020-2021 city comprehensive plan.
The planning commission held a public hearing on Oct. 12, and subsequently forwarded a recommendation of approval to be reviewed by the council.
The council held a public hearing as well on Nov. 10 to obtain additional public input. While the need for affordable housing was not overlooked, the majority of the city council and citizens who commented felt the Marshall Field location, along N. Kelsey Street and W. Columbia Street, would have created more issues than it solved. The density and high volume of traffic the area could potentially face outweighed the need for affordable housing. It was mentioned multiple times in various meetings that other locations in Monroe would be more suitable for affordable housing.
The Monroe School District owns the piece of land and wanted to provide a place for students of low-income families to live. The school district said there has been an increase in homeless students in recent years and feels this is a way to combat that.
The district did not plan to build its own apartments here. The rezone would have made the project allowable for developers.
The land is currently zoned as “institutional”as it is a former athletics field for the school district.



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