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P&Z OKs changes for Cleaners; Building Ctr. request withdrawn
CLARIFICATION, MARCH 20, 2006. City Clerk Carolyn Edwards has notified us that the Planning & Zoning Commission did not act on Don Franklin's request for a change to C-2 Highway Oriented Commercial zoning for his property at the corner of Bomar Heights and Burkesville ST. That will be taken up at a later meeting, she said.
Don Franklin's office complex moves ahead at P&Z hearing; he voluntarily withdraws application for zone change for building supply center on Jamestown ST after neighbors object. But Dr. Roger Smith writes P&Z that the Dry Cleaners will open at 503 Greensburg ST regardless of P&Z, Council action. P&Z member, justifying vote: "There is going to be a dry cleaners, come hell or high water." P&Z recommends zone change for proposed dry cleaning business."
Photo(s) accompanies this article
By Ed Waggener
In last night's P&Z hearing, Don Franklin, owner of a 2.22 acre lot on Jamestown ST, voluntarily withdrew his application for a zone change to establish a building supply center there after neighboring property owners appeared opposing the construction or registering concerns.
Another Don Franklin request, for a zone change at Bomar Heights and Burkesville ST, for an office complex, had no opposition and received the P&Z Commission endorsement and letter of recommendation to go to the Columbia City Council.
But opposition in the neighborhood to the opening of a dry cleaners at 503 Greensburg Street did not deter co-owner Dr. Roger Smith from sending a defiantly worded letter to the P&Z Commission that a dry cleaners would be opened there regardless of neighbor opposition, P&Z approval, or City Council action.
No opposition, no comment on Don Franklin Office Complex
Every seat was taken and additional seats were brought, but some were left standing, with one of the largest crowds ever to attend a P&Z meeting showed up for the March 16, 2006, meeting, which started at 5:30 p.m.
The meeting started very calmly
When the request read for a change from R-2 to C-2 Highway Oriented Commercial for Don Franklin's lot at the corner of Burkesville Street and Bomar Heights, no one offered to speak, for or against the proposal, and the request received the necessary P&Z endorsement and letter to the Council.
A drawing for the proposed Don Franklin office complex by Columbia designer Benton Fudge was shown. The building will be 80 x 40, with four suites 20 x 40 each. The office complex will house insurance and financial offices. The site is directly across from the Columbia post office.
But zone change for Mr. Franklin's proposed building supply center opposed
But when Mr. Franklin's other request for a zone change from R-1 to C-2, it was a different matter. A number of people appeared to oppose it or voice concerns.
Neighbor Ronnie Janes told spoke to the commission, saying that he was concerned that run-off would cause more flooding on his property. "I'm all for business and growth," he said, "but with development, there runoff is going to be greater, and the present system won't be able to handle it."
A letter was read from Bobby L. and Audrea Watson, whose home borders the proposed development, that they were 100% opposed. The Watsons were present at the meeting, but chose to have P&Z Chairman Joe Pyles read their letter. The Watsons said that they had chosen Parkview for a retirement home, and the commercial development would change the reasons they moved to the neighborhood. The letter stated that it would be hard for them to move.
Carolyn Jones read a letter on behalf of her son, Timothy Coomer, who lives at 120 Parkview, which stated his opposition to the development. Mr. Coomer cited water run off, noise, and the threat of mosquitoes. She cited a mud pit, which is part of the water run-off control, as a mosquito incubation site.
After her testimony, Don Franklin requested the P&Z Commission consider his request as withdrawn. "I don't want to disturb anybody. We have other plans we can follow. I'm completely withdrawing the request."
The request to develop the two-acre-plus tract included plans for a building supply center to be constructed there.
Adamant stances in Dry Cleaning Hearing
In its regular meeting, which immediately followed the hearings on the Don Franklin requests, it was a different story.
Chairman Joe Pyles began the segment by expressing a welcome to those in attendance, but told both sides there would be no new testimony. "We'll discuss the matter, but you can't speak," he said, adding, "that goes for both sides."
Gary Corbin, a partner with Dr. Roger Smith, was present. Attending in opposition Dr. Morris Grubbs & Anyssa Radford, George and Vonnie Kolbenschlag, Lauri Sargent, Mary Ann Loy, and Christine and Roy Rademacher. Dr. Smith, who is recovering from surgery was not present, but sent a letter which became a major matter of contention.
Chairman Joe Pyles read the letter, in which Dr. Smith said, adamantly, that the dry cleaners would be built regardless of the P&Z action or subsequent City Council action. The letter said that it is simply a matter of the size of the building. Dr. Smith said that, with the change, the building will be enlarged to make working conditions more comfortable and to provide greater employment.
Chairman Pyles said that as long as he could remember, the building had been commercial. He addressed the issue of spot zoning by saying, It may not always be recommended, but it is not illegal.
Commissioner Tim Bradshaw said that he had talked to the fifth member of the commission, Mary Allender, who had previously opposed the zone change and that she was now for it.
Commissioner V.T. Yarberry said that as far as he could determine, all that the commission was doing was to allow the cleaners to build on to the building. "There's going to be a dry cleaners there, come hell or high water," he said, adding that the P&Z vote would only determine size of the building.
Mr. Yarberry said that everyone who opposed the Dry Cleaners who opposed the zone change had known when they bought their own property that the site had been commercial.
The vote to approve the zoning change was 4-0.
Mrs. Loy had asked for balance
Mary Ann Loy, a leader in the effort to preserve Greensburg Street as a neighborhood of residences, had tried to speak following the reading of the Dr. Smith letter, but Chairman Pyles held out a flat palm to her, telling her that no one from the audience could speak.
"But you read Dr. Smith's letter," Mrs. Loy said, adding she had asked to speak "for balance."
After Chairman Pyles denied her request, Rhonda Bradshaw, Commissioner Bradshaw's wife, asked Mrs. Loy where her businesses are located. Mrs. Loy at first did not reply, and Mrs. Bradshaw asked her why she did not have a business in Columbia. "Columbia does not have a large enough market for my kind of business," Mrs. Loy said. Mrs. Bradshaw then glared and said, "Why don't you just move?"
With other audience chatter going on, Chairman Pyles instructed the gallery to remain silent, or he would take action to see that they remained silent.
After the meeting, Mrs. Loy did speak with the members of the commission, telling them that they were in error in stating that they were only voting on the size of the building. "You changed the zoning for the building," she said.
During the meeting, City Clerk Carolyn Edwards had clarified the commercial boundaries which had been in effect. From Marshall Street and Wall Street south to the Public Square is commercial; north is almost solidly (with the exception of the dispute over 503 Greensburg ST) residential to a bit beyond Frazier Street, when the zoning is spotty.
Commission votes to hold only one meeting a month
At Chairman Joe Pyles recommendation, the P&Z Commission voted 4-0 to hold only one meeting per month, on the fourth Tuesday. He said that if requests for zoning changes do not arrive in time to go through the pre-hearing process, they will lay over until the following month.
Next City Council meeting may have P&Z members, a lawyer for Smith & Corbin
The zoning changes will go before the City Council next. Commissioner V.T. Yarberry recommended that all Commissioner Members be present. The showdown will also be attended by a lawyer for Dr. Smith, his letter stated.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
To read letter from Morris Grubbs in response to Gary Corbin's letter, Click Here.
Regular P&Z meetings are held each 4th Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m., in Columbia City Hall
The Columbia Planning & Zoning Commission includes Chairman Joseph Pyles, Commissioner & Secretary V.T. Yarberry, and Commissioners George Keltner, Tim Bradshaw, and Mary Allender.
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