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City considers old buildings, new rules
Katie Kemezis.jpg
Katie Kemezis

Buildings that predate zoning regulations may receive special consideration, if their original intended use conflicts with the zone they are now assigned.

McMinnville Regional Planning Commission met Tuesday to consider a request from Haydee Caballero, owner of 625 N. Spring Street, to rezone her property from R-2 medium residential district to R-5 residential commercial district. The property fronts North Spring Street at its intersection with Madison Street. 

Currently being operated from the building is a barbershop by Jose Hernandez. That use is not a permitted or special exception use in an R-2 zone. 

Caballero requested a zoning change to R-5, which does allow a barbershop. That zone would permit Hernandez to continue offering the business.

As explained by community planner Katie Kemezis, the building was constructed to be commercial. When the city established its zoning districts, the area was zoned residential and the business deemed a nonconforming use. However, it lost that distinction when the property stopped being used for commercial purposes and it must now conform to zoning restrictions.

The property was used as Lupita’s Mexican restaurant and a bar, said Mayor Ryle Chastain, who asked of Kemezis how those two businesses were possible in a residential zone if a barbershop is not.

“We did go back and look at business licenses and didn’t find any record of that,” said Kemezis. “Business licenses go back 10 years that we can easily search through, and we didn’t find a record for a business license. It may be that they never came in for business license.”

Commission member Jim Brock stated, “I think we need to do something about that situation. Not this situation in particular, but we also have others in town that were constructed years ago to be commercial but they are in residential areas. I don’t know what the answer is.”

“I don’t see how this is right at all,” said member Connan Jones. “They are being taxed commercial, but we’ve stripped them of their commercial status.”

Brock stated, “You’ve got a building, but you can’t do anything with it other than residential. To me, that sort of looks like a taking almost. It’s adverse condemnation. I don’t know what the answer is, but it doesn’t seem right the way it is.”

All adjacent properties are zoned R-2. Allowing a change to R-5 would meet the state’s definition of spot zoning – the process of singling out a small parcel of land for use classification totally different than that of surrounding areas, for the benefit of that property owner but to the detriment of surrounding property owners.

The measure was tabled to allow for research into what can be done if an existing commercial building in a residential area loses its nonconforming status.