After significant discussion, the Hastings City Council defeated an ordinance Monday that would have rezoned property in an east Hastings residential area to allow a four-plex apartment building to be built.
Jerry Goebel owns two existing four-plexes in the 600 block of North Sixth Avenue in east Hastings and wanted to rezone the vacant lot to the south of those two buildings to R-3 multiple family residential in order to build a third, four-plex apartment building.
The council initially voted 4 yes and 2 no on the ordinance, which resulted in a stalemate — the two vacant seats on the city council do not count as affirmative votes. Thus, Mayor Vern Powers broke the tie with a dissuading vote.
At the end of Mondays' meeting, council member Michael Krings expressed his concern about the still-vacant council seats and the difficulties it creates for the council and community as a whole.
"We have two empty seats and we've had two seats go uncontested in our last election. When it creates a stalemate in an issue like this, I think we all should be concerned," Krings said. "I'm concerned about the lack of interest in our community. We have to have people step up in our city government in some capacity so that we can operate as a governing body in the way we were intended to."