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City rejects church's rezoning request
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McMinnville officials rejected a rezoning request by the Seventh Day Adventist Church at 517 N. Spring Street.
The measure failed 4-3 on Tuesday night. Mayor Jimmy Haley, Vice Mayor Ben Newman, and Aldermen Mike Neal and Ken Smith voted against it, while Aldermen Billy Wood, Rick Barnes and Jimmy Bonner voted in favor.
Church representatives requested last month the property be rezoned from R2, medium-density residential, to R5, a mixed use of residential and commercial.
While pastor Haley Roth said the zoning change would allow the church to operate a thrift store and generate revenue, church representative Josephine Abbot said the church could be for sale and the change in zoning would create more interest in the property.
Prior to the vote during a public hearing, Haley voiced a fear of what would become of the property if rezoning were allowed and the property sold.
“If we rezone it and you decide to not run your thrift store, it would leave that property open for development for other types of business,” said Haley. “Someone else could lease your property to run their business.”
Wood requested of Planning and Zoning manager Josh Baker the permitted business uses in R5.
According to Baker, R5 allows professional offices for doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc., TV, radio and satellite dish antennas, and limited retail business uses such as a dress shop, florist, gift shop, antique store, and craft store, among other businesses.
Smith asked of Baker, “What kind of signage could be put up? Could it be lighted?”
Baker says an R5 has limited signage allowed, but what is permitted can be illuminated.
Wood questioned if the city would be allowed to rezone the property for the church to run a thrift shop, but repeal it if the church decides to sell the property.
“No,” said city attorney Tim Pirtle.
Haley says he is in favor of leaving residential areas alone.
“As most of you know, I’ve never been an advocate of zoning residential areas to commercial,” he said. “We have commercial areas all over the city that need to be developed, that are abandoned, or have similar properties that used to be residential. Now, it’s an unsightly eyesore.”
In rejecting the rezoning for the church, board members also declined to rezone three additional properties that would have been changed to prevent spot zoning.