Planners frown on rezoning

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007

FRANKLIN—During the city Planning Commission’s Thursday evening work session, commissioners in attendance were not in favor of rezoning a city-owned parcel in Pretlow Industrial Park to light industrial.

A portion of the property was rezoned from one-family residence to light industrial in 1993 with conditions that allow consideration for the adjacent residents on Morton Street.

The city included in its goals for the year to have the rest of that property rezoned to light industrial to complement the existing park. The rezoning is also supported by Franklin Southampton Economic Development.

Staff recommended the change with the conditions that a 100-foot building setback line from Morton Street be required and that a 25-foot landscaped berm be constructed along the property as a buffer for the residential properties.

“Under normal circumstances, we don’t put M-1 next to residential,” Commissioner Ray Smith said.

“I live there,” Commissioner Carolyn Williams added. “I do not want it.”

When asked what the urgency was with the issue, City Planner Amanda Crocker said it was in the City Council’s objectives for the year, adding that “Economic Development may have had some prospective tenants interested in the property.”

“I don’t believe in putting M-1 next to residential,” Smith said.

“I agree,” Williams said.Vice Chairman Lawyer Artis was still concerned about noise, even with the construction of a berm.

Chairman Daniel Peak asked, “Why this one strip that backs up to people’s houses?” Crocker reiterated the prospective tenant’s interest.

Williams said, “I work all day and I don’t feel like hearing that (noise) when I get home. A home is to enjoy. I don’t want a business to move me out.”

“That’s just a sample of the hornet’s nest you’re going to have at a public hearing,” Smith said.

“The city is asking us to do what we continually fight against,” Smith said. “We haven’t been rezoning property without the specifics of what we’re rezoning it for.”

Peak asked how much space was in the park. Crocker told him 265 acres. “They can’t find a tenant to go out there without rezoning?” Peak asked.

The commission didn’t even discuss the covenants and restrictions of the Industrial Park on the agenda.

Crocker said that if City Council still wants to go forward, it would need to send the Commission an initiating resolution.

“Even after a resolution, unless we had more concrete details (of what it is being rezoned for), we’d be in the same boat,” Commissioner Harlan Lewis said.