To the Editor:

I would like to commend several members of the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission for their recent display of compassion and understanding.

At the Feb. 14 Hilliard Planning and Zoning meeting, commission chairman Scott Movshin and members Tracey Nixon, Chris Lewie and William Uttley listened very intently as speakers representing nearly 1,000 homes in the Brookfield, Hyde Park and Westbriar subdivisions presented emotional and fact-based reasons against rezoning the property housing the former Parkside Community Church into a planned-unit development.

The proposed rezoning was the first step toward creation of a funeral home. Had the zoning been approved, the new funeral home would be located in the midst of three Hilliard and one Columbus subdivision and immediately adjacent to Tinapple Park.

In reaching their decision, commission members listened to testimony regarding the extensive negative socioeconomic impact of this proposed change. Those negative changes included property values decreasing as much as 6 percent; placing families in a position of being forced to move based on their faith values; limitation of similar families moving to this same area; and the increased burden on an already strained infrastructure unable to meet current traffic demands and lacking expansion ability for future needs.

Commission members also heard testimony on at least 10 points the proposed rezoning failed to meet current city and state criteria for a PUD classification. Prior to their vote, several commission members made brief personal statement to the audience outlining the basis for this decision. All statements incorporated great empathy for residents and the overall situation.

It truly represented an instance where government placed the quality of life and best interest of residents first and foremost. Well done, and thank you.

Robert Bryan