Pelican Requests Rezoning

The Forest Acres franchise of Pelican Sno-Balls.

The Forest Acres franchise of Pelican Sno-Balls.

BLYTHEWOOD (Nov. 23, 2016) – A request to rezone a property on Wilson Boulevard near the intersection of Rimer Pond Road to Multi-Neighborhood Commercial (MC) to accommodate a Pelican Sno-Ball restaurant is on Town Council’s agenda Monday night, Nov. 28. It arrives on Council’s desk with a recommendation from the Planning Commission against the rezoning.

The Commission voted 3-2 on Nov. 7 against recommending Pelican’s request for the more intense commercial zoning. Commissioners Michelle Kiedrowski and Sean Pilker, both Cobblestone Park residents, voted in favor of the commercial rezoning.

When no residents were in attendance to speak against the rezoning, Commission Chairman Bryan Franklin asked Town Administrator Gary Parker if the neighbors had been notified of the rezoning request. Parker said they had not at that point.

Commissioner Cynthia Shull asked what other commercial ventures would be permitted on that property if Pelican was granted the commercial rezoning and decided not to move there or later moved away. Town Planning Consultant Michael Criss explained that any business or recreation permitted outright in the Town’s MC zoning classification could occupy the property once it is rezoned. Buildings up to 20,000 square feet would be allowed outright for many kinds of businesses including drug stores, laundromats, grocery stores, stores selling beer and wine, convenience stores, dry cleaners and public recreation facilities as well as a myriad of other retail stores and restaurants. With a conditional vote from Council, gas stations, car washes and apartment buildings could be allowed. Hotels and motels could be permitted as special exceptions.

Bryan Keller, owner of two ice specialty stores in Elgin and Columbia, had already appeared before the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) on Sept. 19 to find out if Board members would approve the use of several different bright colors on the exterior of the building the franchise hopes to rent at 10117 Wilson Blvd.

Keller said he had been discouraged last year by Town Hall zoning officials from trying to open a Pelican’s Sno-Balls franchise in downtown Blythewood because of the company’s trademark bright purple, pink and blue building colors.

Parker explained that the colors weren’t the only problem, that the business would also require a zoning change to at least MC if it locates on the Wilson Boulevard property. Several residents from nearby Rimer Pond Road who oppose commercial zoning in the area were in attendance.

“It was made clear to us that the location in downtown was not going to happen,” Keller told the BAR. “So we’ve expanded our search (for a building).”

That building is the former 3-G Windows and Doors building that was renovated about five years ago and operated under a Multi-Neighborhood Office zoning designation.

BAR members who are charged with safeguarding the Town’s aesthetics, took a collective deep breath when Keller passed around photos of the proposed color options.

“The 3-G building has a very nice renovation,” Board member David Shand pointed out, “and I think your color scheme would take away from the look.”

After much discussion about the colors that all concerned agreed were garish, Matt Marcom, the Pelican Sno-Balls franchise representative, said there is some flexibility with color.

“We can’t change the color scheme, but we can change where the colors go, the amount of color and saturation levels,” Macom said.

“It is the gateway to the town and the entrance to Rimer Pond Road,” Board member Jim McLean reminded Keller. “I don’t think this Board can maintain its continuity and approve these colors.”

Macom then said he could possibly get approval for a white building with only brightly colored trim, wall menus and signage.

“I understand. What you’re trying to prevent is what we’re trying to bring in,” Macom said.

The properties on all sides of the 3-G property are currently zoned Rural (RU). The Dawson’s Pond and Dawson’s Creek residential neighborhoods border the back side of the property.

During public comment, Michael Watts said he and other Rimer Pond Road neighbors in attendance shared the Board’s concerns about the colors.

“But our biggest concern is up-zoning the property to a more intense commercial zoning. We’re opposed to commercial zoning in this area,” Watts said.

Town Council will meet at 7 p.m., at Doko Manor in the Town Park.