Some Pill Hill residents to speak against rezoning at Monday’s City Council meeting

Published: Oct. 1, 2023 at 8:06 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Residents of Rochester’s Pill Hill district are gathering to voice against zoning changes coming to the area.

They will be attending Monday’s Rochester City Council meeting to propose changes to the city’s new zoning map.

City of Rochester’s Ryan Yetzer says the rezoning is part of a comprehensive plan, along with a future land-use map, that was adopted in 2018.

He says this was a proactive effort to reorganize how Rochester uses their land.

“The larger process that’s going on here is updating the zoning map to conform with that larger future land use map.”

City of Rochester Deputy Director of Community Development Ryan Yetzer

This rezoning proposed changing certain parcels of land that are “mixed single family zones” (or R-1) into “low density residential infill” (or R-2X) in an effort to increase affordable housing.

This includes the historic Southwest’s Pill Hill district -- a plan that does not resonate with the Pill Hill community.

“We have the perfect example at the Legacy Townhomes where those Townhomes are currently zoned as R-2X and rent starts at $2,600 a month and goes up to over $4,200 a month. That is not solving for affordable housing.”

Pill Hill Resident Sasha Gentling

Born in Rochester, Sasha Gentling has been living in Pill Hill since 2018. She says the Pill Hill district is a historically significant part of the city.

“Pill Hill was established around St. Mary’s Hospital. St. Mary’s Hospital has been around for nearly 140 years so this was the first neighborhood where residents chose to call home practically in all of Rochester.”

Pill Hill Resident Sasha Gentling

Yetzer says there is not a pending development that will take place once the rezoning is approved.

He says visible change from rezoning will not arrive until years to come. He also says he sympathize with the concerns of Pill Hill residents.

“I think their biggest fear is change and I sympathize with that. Their next biggest fear is loss of historic properties.”

City of Rochester Deputy Director of Community Development Ryan Yetzer

Considering the Legacy Townhomes in Southwest Rochester as an example, Gentling was she is not for the idea of change with R-2X zoning.

“What is the goal with R-2X zoning? Why have we spent 4-5 years thinking about this when we have the perfect example of what hasn’t worked in Southwest Rochester? Why are we throwing good money after bad?”

Pill Hill Resident Sasha Gentling