The Richmond Register

Local News

July 16, 2014

Planners clear Main/Tates Creek zone change

RICHMOND — A divided Richmond Planning Commission has sent to the city commission a recommendation that three lots at the corner of West Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue be rezoned.

The commission voted 4-2 Tuesday to accept the applicant’s proposed land-use restrictions and findings of fact to justify changing the zone from R-1b (Residential) to B-1 (Neighborhood Business).

The vote broke a 2-2 tie that occurred June 26 and reflected the 4-3 vote May 29 to recommend the change, pending submission of the restrictions and findings of fact.

Commissioners Mary Lillian Abney, Mike Rice, David Rush and Richard Thomas were in the majority, while James Miller and Eugene Estelle dissented. Neen Wiggins, who opposed the zone change in earlier votes, was absent.

Financial advisor Mark Van Leeuen wants to purchase the property from the heirs of John D. Hancock to construct a building and move his office there.

Among the land-use restrictions tied to the zone change is the building’s design. According to a photograph of another building constructed with the plans, it would resemble a white, early 20th century clapboard residence with a wraparound porch. The design would make it compatible with the residential character of the neighborhood, proponents of the change have said.

Opponents said the rezoning would represent a commercial encroachment into a historically residential area, while advocates noted a hair salon on an adjacent Tates Creek Avenue property occupies a building with a residential appearance. That structure once housed a neighborhood grocery, proponents pointed out. Traffic at the intersection makes residential redevelopment of the property unlikely, they also have said.

On Thursday, City Clerk Lisa Cassity said she was preparing an agenda for the city commission’s Tuesday meeting and had not been instructed to include the zone change as an action item.

An ordinance, which will required two readings for passage, will have to be drafted before the city commission can consider the measure, Cassity noted. The commission has two meetings next month, Aug. 12 and 26.

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