A zoning change could be on the horizon as McMinnville officials attempt to construct a different barrier between commercial and residential areas, one that wasn’t there during the Hardee’s controversy in December.
Alderman Everett Brock has had a discussion with Planning and Zoning director Nolan Ming about the need to consider changes to the city’s current zoning requirements in an effort to avoid a future situation like the one with Hardee’s.
“I’ve talked with Nolan about this, the issue we got into with Hardee’s,” said Brock during a city Building and Grounds Committee meeting Tuesday night. “We really did not have a whole lot of leeway if we wanted something other than the type of fence, the wooden fence that is there. We might want to consider looking at modifying where you’ve got residential areas butting up against commercial areas. Maybe we should expand what you can do. I don’t know how loose we can make it and it still be legal. We would have to run it by legal counsel. This might stop the issue like what we had.”
In December, the city rejected a rezoning request of Hardee’s back parking lot from Residential 1 to Commercial 1. At the heart of the rejection was what type of screening would be installed between the business and its residential neighbors. While Hardee’s was willing to install what the city’s ordinance required, an 8-foot wooden fence, city officials wanted something more concrete such as a brick wall.
“What we require in our code is not what we really wanted,” said Brock. “That’s the reason I’m asking if there is a possibility that we can modify those alternatives, or those restrictions, for when commercial butts up against residential. We could have more options than what we had. This might head something like that off at the pass.”
Aldermen Steve Harvey agreed with Brock.
“In that situation, they said ‘All we are doing is what we are required to do.’ A little leeway would have helped,” said Harvey.
Ming agreed to work with the city’s legal counsel on a way to modify city code and bring something back to the committee for its consideration.