A rezoning request by the Seventh Day Adventist Church at 517 N. Spring Street has met with some resistance from McMinnville Planning Commission members.
Church representatives asked the property to be rezoned from R2, medium-density residential, to R5, a mixed use of residential and commercial.
Pastor Haley Roth says the zoning change would allow the church to operate a thrift store.
“As we understand it, we have to rezone in order to have a thrift shop,” Roth said. “A thrift shop would generate some revenue so we can help some families who are in need, as well as allow us to stock up some clothing just in case someone comes in who needs clothing. We could even have some furnishings available.”
Roth says the church’s location is an “ideal thoroughfare for connecting with the community” and “there are other businesses in close proximity.”
Church representative Josephine Abbot says the church is for sale.
“It’s not for sure that we will do this because the church could, possibly, be up for sale. We have some interest from other people, too.”
Close proximity to other businesses may not be close enough, says staff planner Jonathan Ward.
“Everything around there is residential,” he said. “This could be interpreted as an issue of spot zoning, which is poor zoning principle. You are not accomplishing your plans for the city with spot zoning sections here and there.”
The church’s property borders R2 zoned property to the north, south, east and west, and a portion of the property borders R3 zones to the east.
Ward says commission members have to decide, “Do you think the area is more suitable for more commercial development in the future? I know we have some high-density residential right across the street. I just hate for us to get in issues of granting spot zoning.”
The church being for sale could also pose a problem. Ward says once the property is rezoned R5, anything allowed in that district can be placed on the property.
“If you grant the rezoning and the property goes on the market, anything allowed in that district will be allowed on the property,” he said. “They have a plan, but it is also a marketing strategy for them. This would make it more valuable for someone else.”
Along with a church, permitted uses of R5 include single-family detached and two-family attached dwellings, accessory apartments in single-family detached dwellings, and the taking of boarders or the leasing of rooms by the family residing on the premises.
Permitted uses that would attract the attention of business owners include a bed and breakfast establishment, tea rooms, professional offices for doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc., TV, radio and satellite dish antennas, and limited retail business uses such as dress shops, florist, gift shops, antique stores, and craft stores.
Permitted uses on appeal include daycare homes, public utilities, municipal uses such as fire and police substations, public parks and public recreational facilities, community/ grocery, mini markets and the like.
The church is about three blocks away from the closest R5 property on N. Spring Street. Planning and Zoning manager Josh Baker offered to contact the property owners between R5 and the church to see if they would be interested in rezoning their property so this rezoning effort would not be considered spot zoning.
“I think this lot is two to three lots away from joining an R5,” said Baker. “If we are going to rezone, let’s link them up. Let’s not have a spot zone. I would be willing to contact those property owners and see how they feel about rezoning.”
In allowing Baker to contact the property owners, Planning Commission member Jim Brock asked him to remind the property owners that property taxes are not based on zone.
“The first thing you will run into is a misunderstanding people have,” said Brock. “Property taxes are not based on zoning. They are based on use. Rezoning will not increase their property taxes.”
Planning Commission members Brock, David Marttala, Amie Hodges, Anthony Pelham and Jimmy Bonner tabled the measure until the property owners could be contacted.