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Council Hears Rezoning Application — Vet Clinic Plans Expansion

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A tract of land located just outside of Alliance is being eyed as place for the Alliance Animal Clinic to expand its offerings; however, there is just one hold up: the land needs to be rezoned for commercial use. 

During the Alliance City Council meeting on Jan. 8, council members hosted a public hearing on a rezoning application for a six-acre tract of land located in the Southeast Quarter of Section 32, Township 25 North to discuss the possibility of changing the zoning designation from agricultural to highway commercial in order to facilitate the expansion of a local business. 

Clint Kesterson, one of the owners of the Alliance Animal Clinic, spoke to the council about the need to expand the business, and the support the business has received for rezoning the tract of land. 

“Our hope is to build a new facility,” Kesterson said. “The facility where we’re at now, we’re not able to expand; we’re not able to rebuild or remodel because of a sewer line that’s under the building. We’re limited on space. Our goal is to build a new facility to serve Alliance and Box Butte County. 

“We’ve talked to neighbors, and we have no opposition. We intend on building the clinic and maintaining a nice clean facility,” said Kesterson. 

Box Butte County Zoning Administrator Mike Johnson spoke in favor of the rezoning. He advised the council that rezoning the land would be returning it to its original designation before it was claimed as a part of the city. 

“I want to be careful about saying rezoning, because I think there’s a question as to why we have to go through a rezoning process. Before there was zoning in Box Butte County by the Box Butte County zoning board, this property was commercial through the ‘70s into the ‘80s,” Johnson said. 

Johnson reviewed the history of the use of the land, noting that it was used as a base for a trucking business, as well as a feedlot. 

“This was a commercial property to begin with; it should have always been a commercial property,” said Johnson. “In 2001, when Box Butte County took over zoning from the state, we did do the zoning for the county. At that time, this property would have been a commercial property. The state recognized this as a commercial property. 

“Someplace along the line, probably within the last seven or eight years, the city has injected what they call the EJT, their extra-jurisdictional territory, which lets them extend two miles out of the city limits, to control growth. I believe that’s when this property was blanketed as an agricultural property. It should have never been zoned agricultural to begin with. It doesn’t meet the criteria. It’s not 10 acres; it’s not ag oriented. It doesn’t meet any of that criteria. If this was a county property today, if you guys had not taken over the EJT, this project would have gone through months and months ago, because this was a commercial property. It should still be a commercial property,” Johnson said. 

Johnson continued by saying that the county is in favor of the project because it helps to promote “vital business” in Box Butte County. 

After the hearing, the council voted to approve the first reading of the request. 

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