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Greenbrier planning commission rejects church's rezoning request

Posted: August 26, 2013 - 4:09pm

GREENBRIER—The Greenbrier Planning Commission voted unanimously against the rezoning of a half-acre lot with an existing three bedroom house at 10 Church Street, zoned residential R-1. LifeSong Baptist Church bought this house across the street from their main building on May 30 and asked for commercial C-2 rezoning with a special church use permit. The City Hall Courtroom was crowded with about thirty LifeSong members represented by church member Mayor Don Robinson and Pastor Freddie Mark Wilcox.

Residents who live on the two block long, dead-end streets of Church Street and Glendale Circle were represented by BJ Fox. Seventy two percent of residents signed a petition against the rezoning and presented seven reasons why. After much courteous discussion from the Committee, church members and residents, the Committee’s vote was unanimous against the commercialization of a residential lot adjacent to other residences.

The Committee advised the Church to modify their request to simply ask for a special church use permit on the residential R-1 lot for their church meetings and extra parking spaces. Neighbors did not object to church meetings and use. Instead they made it clear they object to paving the back yard for parking and commercialization of a lot so close to their residential homes. Safety, future re-sale value, privacy, and congestion on a narrow no-outlet street were other concerns.

Committee Member Tim Rowlett advised the Church that a similar request from another church in the area had been asked of the Committee a few years ago and the Committee had to deny their request so there has been precedent established for their decision.

The primary goals of a City Planning Commission are to benefit all businesses and residences and provide safety and uniformity to city growth in a just manner. He further said, “If you come back and ask for the special church use permit on that residential property, it would probably pass and you could then present a surveyed plan drawn up for parking and drainage in accordance with City ordinances.”

In other business, the final plat for Elizabeth’s Replat and the final plat for the Watson Place Subdivision were approved unanimously. The Greenbrier Planning Commission meets the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located on Wilson Farm Road.

Wooster Planning Commission

WOOSTER — About fifty people concerned about a C-3 commercial rezoning hearing on 4.92 acres of land at the corner of Ford Street and Reed Road crowded into the small Wooster Fire Department meeting room to be heard at a published City Hearing for the change. The vacant acreage was zoned R-1 for residential housing and owned by Jessie Ellison who has built many homes in the area.

Ellison asked for the rezoning in order to expand his present Greenbrier location into a showroom for his concrete products. He manufactures concrete molds and wants to build a bigger showroom in Wooster landscaped for outdoor displays of waterfalls, fireplaces, and outdoor concrete items. He stated, “Change is coming to Wooster and with the new proposed highway to route through here, many people have asked me to be a part of that change. I’d like to sell part of this parcel for a restaurant or fast-food business.”

Chairman Bob Stubbs gave everyone plenty of time to voice their opinions. The half-hour scheduled meeting lasted for over an hour and was sometimes quite heated. Many residents did not want change to their quiet little town in the country. Others loudly said, “Change is inevitable” and “we need the revenue from more commercialization and, at the very least, a restaurant in town.”

A vote was taken of the people in attendance who owned property in Wooster. 23 voted No and 25 voted Yes. The Wooster Planning Commission then went into their scheduled meeting and the vote was to recommend rezoning to C-3 by a vote of 3 to 2. Scott Ausbrooks, Nancy Patton and Melvin Bone were for rezoning. Mary Mahan and Bob Smart voted against the recommendation to the Wooster City Council.

The Wooster City Council meeting was then convened by Mayor Don Robinson. The City Council noted that even though both votes were very close and split practically down the middle, they acted upon the recommendation of the Planning Commission by voting unanimously for the rezoning to commercial C-3 of the property.

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