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Ordinance would re-zone property from Office to General Commercial

By Bill Short

Flag City LogoThe Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed an ordinance on first reading last week that would re-zone property on Highway 51 from Office to General Commercial.
Board members took the action during their March 15 meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Mike Caruthers and seconded by Alderman Chris Ford. The motion was passed by five affirmative votes, with Aldermen Larry Dagen and Hank Hawkins absent.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for final reading at the board’s April 11 meeting. It would re-zone 0.459 acres at 8029 Highway 51 from O, Office, to B-2, General Commercial district.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, noted during a public hearing shortly before the vote that there is a “strip” of properties on the east side of Highway 51 currently zoned Office District.
And slightly north of City Hall, he said, a building located in an Office district has been vacant for two years, because that zoning classification is “so restricted” on how it can be used. He noted that offices can also be located in General Commercial districts.
“So, what we’ve found is, especially right on Highway 51, properties that are zoned Office are not highly desirable,” he said. “But they would be as businesses.”
Goforth noted that, at its Feb. 15 meeting, the Millington Planning Commission reviewed the proposed zoning change and recommended that the board approve it.
“We’ve already gotten a request coming in from the next door,” he acknowledged. “We would support that also. But we didn’t want to hold up on this business, which is locating here at this time.”
Alderman Bethany Huffman said that, after the agenda for the board meeting was posted on the city’s Web site, she got telephone calls from some “nearby” individuals who did not receive the required notices from the planning commission.
When she asked Goforth to clarify the difference between O and B-2 zoning, he said only offices, apothecaries or banks are allowed in O districts, but B-2 can have retail businesses.
Because a “neighborhood” adjoins the property proposed for re-zoning, Huffman said the callers wanted to know what type of retail business would be locating there. Among other things, they expressed concern about “lighting, traffic and parking.”
In this case, Goforth noted, it is a “gift/thrift shop.” And its owner intends to use the existing building and parking area.
“If they come in with a Site Plan for a new building at some point in the future,” he acknowledged, “we would address the parking, lighting and screening issues at that time, because the lots are pretty big there.”
Shortly before the vote, Alderman Thomas McGhee disclosed that the shop’s owner is Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministries, and he is its vice president.

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