Council approves industry near park

BLYTHEWOOD – After a request for Limited Industrial (LI) zoning on property adjacent to Doko Park was softly introduced to Town Council Monday night as being made by a local businessman, Keith Gilstrap, Council voted 4-1 to approve it. The zoning request included two acres of Gilstrap’s 4.5 acre tract on McLean Road where he also operates a roofing company which, he said, does construction work.

Only Mayor J. Michael Ross, who voted against the request, questioned the potential problems that could be posed by an LI zoning classification next to the park.

“We know your intentions,” Ross said, “but if you sell this property, we are then opening ourselves up on those two acres. There are a lot of land use categories that come with LI that are not in CC. I assume,” Ross said, looking toward town attorney Jim Meggs, “that once we do this, it’s done and it stays that way.”

“The parcel is currently zoned Community Commercial (CC), the most intense commercial zoning district [in the town,]” Michael Criss, the Town’s planning consultant explained. “Mr. Gilstrap wants to add to this property an approximate 5,000 square foot metal building in which he will operate…wholesale preparation and distribution of insulation materials. So he’s going to go from the most intense commercial district to the least intense industrial district, but it is a land use change, and all of the land uses allowed in LI zoning would be permissible on this property,” Criss said.

Those permitted uses include the manufacturing, processing and packing of canned and frozen food, apparel, wood kitchen cabinets, perfumes and cosmetics, luggage, leather goods, pottery and other items. It would also permit outright a commercial printing operation.

Conditional uses include Garages for car repair and service, communication towers and firework stands.  Manufactured home sales are allowed with a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

“I swear, we’re getting ready to open a close-to-$500,000 amphitheater in the park and, when you think about it having something zoned Limited Industrial that you could walk through the woods to,” Ross said.

The zoning request was sent to Council from the Planning Commission with a unanimous recommendation for the industrial zoning designation.