Commission hears objections to property subdivisions

Published 11:40 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A number of subdivision requests were heard at Tuesday’s Planning commission meeting, and all of those subdivision requests met with objections save one.

The only request not to have anyone object to it at the public hearing was the request from Home Depot to split their parcel into three separate parcels. Home Depot representative Chris Phelps said the property is to be split into three parcels, one for Home Depot, one for RaceTrac and the third will be used for utilities.

The application was approved by the commission after a short discussion .

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Two other requests to make parcel changes were not so fortunate. An application from Michelle Durr to combine two properties at 502 E. Canal St. met with resistance from the surrounding residents.

Neighboring property owner Bill Edwards said he has lots to the east and north of where Durr wishes to make the changes. Durr was initially requesting two changes to her property, one was to combine the two buildings into one and the other was to ask for a setback variance. Typically, a building needs a 15-foot setback, which is the distance from the rear of the building to the property line.

City employee Barbara McGrew said Durr currently has a nine-foot setback on that side of the building. The variance would be needed only if Durr decided to join the two buildings together, which would change the side of the building into the back. Alternately, Durr would not need the variance if she did not join the two buildings together.

Community objections involved possible drainage problems from the new construction involved in joining the two buildings together, parking issues, and concerns about the operating hours since it will be used as a business. Commission member Bryan Cooper said the plan states the building would be used for a sandwich shop and a rental hall.

Edwards said there is already a parking problem in the area and he is concerned about the noise that would be generated. Henry Porter, who lives next door to the building in question, said he also is concerned about the same issues.

“I’ve been there 18 years. It’s been pretty quiet. I can’t say for sure it’s going to turn into a nightmare (but) I’m pretty satisfied with the way things are now,” Porter said.

With the proposed business sprouting up next to his home, he expects cars parking to patronize the establishment would encroach on his property. He suggested a privacy fence be installed between the two properties, at Durr’s expense.

After the commission heard some more complaints, they took them under advisement and let the residents know that the commission was only considering the requests at hand, the joining of the two properties and the variance.

The commission took a vote on the request as it was presented, and, due to the variance request it was denied by a 5-2 vote. Reggie Oliver, who was representing Durr, said Durr would like to withdraw her request for the variance and instead just request joining the two lots into one. The original motion was rescinded by the commission and the members approved the new request of combining the two lots into one.

Another application to subdivide property on Maple Avenue also encountered resistance from one concerned citizen, Judy Stockstill. Jesse Lee Jr. submitted the request so he could build some duplexes in that area, he said. Stockstill expressed concerns about drainage and the possible creation of additional litter, especially since her mother lives next to where the proposed duplex would be built. She said there is already a litter problem in that area due to the mobile homes in the trailer the park nearby.

Lee said he knew of the drainage problems in the area and is willing to avoid creating further problems. He even offered to build a privacy fence between his duplex and Stockstill’s mother’s house. Commission member Dennis Collier informed Stockstill that the only matter before the commission was to subdivide the property and any other issues would be addressed at a Site Plan Review meeting.

The commission approved the request to subdivide the property.

In other business, the commission approved setting the public hearing for the Comprehensive Plan at 6 p.m. March 2, in the council chambers.

The property issues covered in Tuesday’s meeting will be addressed by the city council at its next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 17.