City Planning Commission decides to table citizen petition to rezone part of F Street

Published 8:34 am Monday, June 10, 2019

The Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission met Thursday night to approve a commercial development site plan and tabled a petition to rezone a current lopsided medium density residential (R2) and high density (R3) zone city street. The commission then adjourned and transformed into the Board of Zoning Appeals where there was tight contention before approving a previously denied variance for a porch for a local residence.

According to documents released during the meeting, Highland Engineering and KD Moore Construction sought to construct a 7,000-square-foot commercial facility at 1500 W. Elk Ave. The land is currently vacant.

The facility will consist of three separate business units, which will consist of two restaurants and one retail establishment.

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The commission voted to pass the site plan.

The commission next heard a petition with over 20 signers, all residents of W. F Street. The petition sought to rezone both the 100 and 200 block of the street to a uniform R2 zone. Currently, the south side of W. F Street is an R3.

The petition states the uniformed rezoning to R2 will “preserve the single-family character and nature of the street, prevent overcrowding, mitigate potential traffic issues, and preserve our property values.”

The petition also included an extensive written rider that explained some of the history of W. F Street.

“Historically, W. F Street has been a prominent single family neighborhood, characterized by larger than average lots, and homes that are above the median home value for Elizabethton…” states the document. It goes on to point out that many of the homes are older and have basement or garage apartments that supported aging family members or “the occasional Moody Aviation Student.” The document surmises the south end of the street was probably rezoned when Wexford Estates condos were built causing the usual dual zoned issue.

After some discussion between members and staff, the decision was made to table the petition until further study could be done.

The Planning Commission having no further business adjourned but immediately reconvened as the Board of Zoning Appeals to consider a variance request by a citizen to add a porch to 411 Parkway Blvd.

The staff report that was read by City Local Planner Elizabeth Poczobut — which was not a part of the packet requested and received by the Star — recommended denying request based on Tennessee law, specifically, TCA 13-7-207. The undisclosed report, as read by Poczobut, said that it was determined that denying the variance would not result in “undue hardship upon the owner” so it was decided the request was “unwarranted.”

After some discussion, which included one board member inquiring about whether the recommendation to reject the variance was technical or substantive, the board voted 3 to 2 to allow the porch to be added, with Chairman Paul Bellamy and Board Member William Taylor both casting no votes.