In a narrow vote, the Ashland Planning Commission decided Tuesday to continue developing plans to rezone the Croman Mill plot.

In a narrow vote, the Ashland Planning Commission decided Tuesday to continue developing plans to rezone the Croman Mill plot.

Commissioners voted 5-3 to continue to zone some of the 65 acres east of Tolman Creek Road for offices.

Commission Vice Chairman Michael Dawkins and commissioners Melanie Mindlin and Tom Dimitre said they wanted the privately owned land to be zoned entirely for industrial use.

Dawkins, a longtime Ashland resident, grew emotional as he made his case for saving the land for manufacturing and urged the commission to scrap major elements of the proposal.

"Make no mistake about it, when we do this plan it will, at least for the near future, remove any type of M1 (industrial) employment from Ashland," he said. "I think the whole plan is an irresponsible piece of sprawl."

Other commissioners, however, said they welcomed the chance to have more white-collar employment in Ashland and that there was still space on the land for some manufacturing.

"What's wrong with an office park that looks good and provides good jobs for people?" Commission Chair Pam Marsh said. "I want those jobs because I want to be able to see families be able to settle here and live here and buy a house here."

— Ashland Daily Tidings