PC heads off commercial zoning

Residents of Dawson’s Pond and Dawson’s Creek neighborhood could be facing a change of zoning for two parcels bordering their neighborhood when a request for commercial zoning of the parcels goes to Town Council later this month.

Vicki Brooks, owner of 10735 Wilson Boulevard, is requesting a zoning change for the parcels from the current Rural District (RU) zoning to Multi-Neighborhood Commercial District (MC) zoning. The request for a recommendation to Council was heard by the Planning Commission Tuesday evening.

While Town Administrator Gary Parker suggested in a memo to the Commissioners that the request falls in line with other existing commercial districts along this section of Wilson Boulevard, the Town’s zoning consultant, Michael Criss, said it is a higher level of commercial zoning that two other office commercial uses down the road.

Brooks told the Commission that she was not sure what would go on the two parcels that total 3.33 acres and which are about 1,200 feet south of Blythewood High School on Wilson Boulevard.

“I have in mind something to serve the community, whether it’s medical, dental, up to 20,000 square feet with a possible drive thru if it became a restaurant,” Brooks told the Commissioners. “At one time it had a restriction against gas stations, but it no longer has that restriction,” she said.

When she mentioned that there were no dental or medical offices in Blythewood, she was corrected by Criss and several Commissioners that there are three dental offices and two or three medical offices.

Criss reviewed the allowable commercial uses for the property that include a convenience store, a beer, wine and liquor store, certain automobile sales uses and conditional uses for gas stations and automobile wash and detailing establishments as well as indoor and outdoor restaurants.

While Parker told The Voice that no rezoning notice is required to be posted on the property prior to a request coming to the Planning Commission, at least one resident from the adjoining Dawson’s Pond and Dawson’s Creek neighborhoods was aware of the request coming before the Commission and spoke out at the meeting.

“I’m concerned that Blythewood is in danger of urban sprawl, bringing commercial into the rural,” Dawson’s Creek resident and former Planning Commissioner Carol Peeples told the Commission. She said she has no problem with growth, but that the commercial development of this property bordering her neighborhood would be growth in the negative.

Commissioner Donald Brock, in answer to Brooks saying she would not put a gas station on the corner property, quizzed her further.

“Let’s say we take your word that you will not put a convenience store there. If the zoning is changed to MC and you sell the property, what stops someone from coming behind you and putting a liquor store there? I have a problem with that,” Brock said.

“Absolutely,” Brooks agreed. “But you could put a restriction for that.”

“No,” Criss said. “The zoning district designation regulations have to be consistent so that any of these allowed  land uses could be developed.”

The Commission voted 4-0 to recommend that Council deny the request when it comes before them at the September meeting.

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