A rezoning request in order to potentially build a new gas station and apartment complex for a parcel of property just north of Pacific was not supported by the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Sam Salamah requested a 3.6 acre parcel near the intersection of Highway 100 and Highway OO be rezoned from suburban development (SD) to community development (CD). At Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted 6-2 to recommend the zoning change be denied.

Board members Bill Evans and Jay Schultehenrich voted in favor of backing the rezoning. Commissioners Todd Boland, Ray Cunio, Bill McLaren, Stanley Voss, Dan Haire and Ron Williams voted in favor of rejecting the request.

The plan board’s recommendation will be passed along to the Franklin County Commission. At a future date, the commission will host a public hearing on the request and then vote to approve or deny.

Because of the plan board’s recommendation to deny, the county bylaws call for a super majority of the commission to vote to reverse the decision. However, because the county commission is a 3-person board, a simple majority and super majority are the same — two votes.

Rezoning Request

Rob Bittick spoke on behalf of Salamah at Tuesday’s meeting. Bittick said two other parcels directly east of the property are currently zoned CD.

Planning Director Scottie Eagan said the two parcels were rezoned to CD in the early 1990s. Bittick said Salamah thought the 3-acre parcel in question at Tuesday’s meeting already had been zoned CD, but found out it wasn’t earlier this year when he made plans to develop the property.

The county’s future land use map has the property as a commercial.

Bittick told the commission Salamah was planning to add a 7,000-square-foot gas station and convenience store on the site. In order for that happen, he said Salamah needed to also build a 7-unit apartment complex on the property with somewhere around 94 units.

The property is not near sewer or water hookups, Bittick said. Salamah would have to go 1,600 feet to the west to hook up to water and is planning to hook up to a treatment plant at the Victoria Gardens Mobile Home Park nearly a half mile away.

The cost of those connections would be expensive. To make it work, Bittick said the apartments would be needed to make the project financially feasible.

Eagan reminded the plan board that Salamah’s plans for the site were not the focus of the rezoning request. The plan board is only supposed to look at all the possible uses allowed under the county code and how it fits in with the surrounding properties.

With Bittick being asked questions about the sewer hookup and stormwater, Eagan said all of those issues would be addressed on a preliminary plat and by the building department.

Decision

Despite Eagan’s reminder, the majority of the board’s questions focused on the development. McLaren expressed concern over the sewer hookup.

Boland said he felt the zoning for the area was already set. He said the parcel in question staying SD offered a “nice buffer” for the other two parcels already zoned CD. If Salamah wanted to develop those two parcels, he could without needing to change the zoning.

Boland said he favored denial. Haire seconded his motion and the majority of the board agreed.

A large crowd attended the meeting seemingly in opposition of the plan. The crowd was not permitted to address the board at the meeting because it was not a hearing and was silenced for trying to speak on multiple occasions.

The majority of the crowd cheered and applauded the board’s decision and left en masse after the vote.