Don Peterson will have to start expanding his business sooner than originally planned.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission granted Peterson a conditional use permit for two parcels of land located on Spring Bluff Road and Highway AF just outside of Sullivan. The permit will allow Peterson to expand his business, Peterson Oil Company.

The expansion will have to take place within a year or Peterson risks the possibility of never being able to expand his business. Because of a change in zoning code this year, his business is no longer an accepted use in the agricultural non-urban zoning district.

The commission informed Peterson that he has to act on his CUP within a year or the permit will expire. If that were to happen, he would be unable to apply for a new permit under the new regulations.

Peterson requested the CUP for two parcels of property surrounding his business totaling close to 50 acres. He said his business was getting bigger and he was thinking about expansion.

Peterson already owned close to 10 acres adjacent to his business. Earlier this year he added nearly 40 more acres of land surrounding the oil company.

“We kind of landlocked ourselves 30 years ago,” Peterson said. “Who knew? But then we had the opportunity to buy some land for expansion.”

In May, the Franklin County Commission granted his request to rezone the new parcel to agricultural non-urban.

Peterson then requested the CUP to allow for future expansion of his business.

“I’d like to be able to use it in the future,” he said.

Peterson said he doesn’t have any initial plans for expansion, nor was he planning on using the entire 50 acres.

“A little bit of expansion, maybe some sheds — something to store equipment,” he said.

“We’re not looking to do much — after buying the property I don’t really have the money to do anything substantial,” he said.

Commission member Russell McCreary asked what Peterson’s future plans would mean for the CUP.

“Does this mean if he doesn’t build any sheds on it in one year he has to come back and get another CUP?” McCreary said.

Planning Director Scottie Eagan said that would normally be the case.

“The way our regulations are written, if a conditional use permit isn’t used in one year it automatically goes away,” Eagan said.

In this case, however, new zoning codes would prevent Peterson from applying for a new CUP.

“This activity is not allowed in this zoning district anymore,” Eagan said.

In order to keep the permit, Eagan said Peterson must do something relevant within the year.

Chairman Bill Evans asked if something as simple as building a shed on the property would work.

Eagan said as long as Peterson is using the property for the intended purpose of the CUP, he could keep it forever. A shed would work, she said.

“If he’s using it, it’s not dormant,” she said.

Peterson said he was unaware he could lose the CUP and not be able to get it back if he didn’t act within a year.

“I guess I’ll have to build sheds quicker than I anticipated,” he said.

Peterson was told it didn’t have to be sheds, just any sort of improvement related to the business would work. For example, he could clear trees and place gravel for a parking lot.

Following the discussion, the commission unanimously approved the permit.