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July 26, 2013

No action taken on rezoning of Spangler Drive lot

Decision will go to city commission if not acted on in 30 days

RICHMOND — Richmond's Planning and Zoning Commission took no action Thursday evening on a requested zone change for 316 Spangler Drive.

The lot is zoned B-3, for businesses, but a developer wants it rezoned to R-3 so an apartment complex can be built there. Planning Commission Chair David Rush said the lot, located at the corner of Spangler and Wayne Drives, has been empty for some time.

According to a representative of the developing company, JCM Construction, a majority of the properties in the area are used for residential purposes, though they are still zoned B-3. He said this is not an isolated case, and there are many B-3 zones in the city that are entirely composed of apartment complexes.

“At one time at least, the majority of multi-family buildings constructed in the city were, in fact, in B-3 zones,” he said.

The representative said an ordinance was changed in the 1990s to prohibit building multi-family buildings in a B-3 zone. While the lot in question remained undeveloped, many of the other lots in the area had apartment complexes and duplexes built on them.

The representative said an unintended consequence of the changed ordinance was that certain lots in predominantly residential areas were prohibited from building residential complexes.

“That guy (owners of vacant lots in B-3 zones) is being denied the use of his property consistent with the use that has been made of all his neighbors property simply because of timing,” the representative said. “He didn't build when they built.”

According to the development plan, the majority of the lot will be rezoned to R-3 and used to build a multi-family residential complex. However, a portion of the lot in the corner facing down Wayne Drive to the Eastern Bypass would remain B-3. The plan includes 3,600 square foot office building to be built on the corner.

But the commissioners said they didn't like the idea of only rezoning one section of the lot. Commissioner Richard Thomas said the project would be “more appealing” if the lot were entirely changed to R-3.

Thomas made a motion to approve the project, but said he did so only to open discussion on the subject. No other commissioner seconded the motion, and it died before it could be voted on.

Approval from the planning commission is not needed for rezoning to take place. The final decision on planning matters is made by the city commission, but if the planning commission passes a change it appears with a recommendation when it comes before the city commission.

City Attorney Garrett Fowles said if the rezoning issue is not approved or denied by the planning commission in 30 days, it will go before the city commission for a vote without a recommendation.

The next planning and zoning meeting will take place Aug. 20, 5:30 p.m. at Richmond City Hall, 239 W. Main St.

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.

 

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