The denial for redevelopment of a 3.6-acre tract of land outside Pacific may put the brakes on a larger development of surrounding acreage that would include apartments, filling station and a grocery store.
The proposed development at 1300 Highway 100 outside Pacific was slated for a new gas station, grocery store and 54-unit apartment complex.
The Franklin County Commission Tuesday upheld the September decision of the county planning and zoning board to deny the rezoning request of Sam Samalah after several nearby residents spoke out about the development.
The overall development would sit on roughly 12 acres, but the hearing Thursday focused on a 3.6-acre tract that is currently zoned suburban development (SD).
Samalah argued his case before the county commission in October and a dozen people with property adjacent to the mixed commercial/residential property spoke against it.
Salamah, his daughter, and Rob Bittick, the developer on the project, were the only speakers in favor of the rezoning.
Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said after hearing the arguments from both sides he voted to uphold the lower board’s decision.
“They did not provide clear evidence,” Griesheimer said. “They did not make a strong case at all justifying the rezoning.”
According to the commission order passed Tuesday, the applicant failed to present any credible evidence that the proposed zoning change would promote the health, safety, morals comfort and general welfare of Franklin County.
The applicant also failed to present any credible evidence that the proposed zoning change would conserve and protect the property values of the neighboring properties; and failed to present any credible evidence that the proposed zoning change would in any other manner promote the goals and objectives of the Franklin County Master Plan.
In addition to the testimonies, Griesheimer said several letters opposing the rezoning also had been submitted.
At the hearing, the main arguments against the rezoning involved sewage and a lack of easy access to existing utilities.
Salamah said the project would cost $13 million, he has the experience to do it and it would be something everybody could be proud of. He has owned the property since 1991.
Currently there are no gas stations or grocery stores near the area in question.
The property is not near sewer or water hookups, and 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.
Neighbors opposing the rezoning testified the current sewage treatment plant could barely handle what was sent to it now.
According to their current plan, a sewage holding tank and lift station would be located on the 3.6-acre parcel that was denied rezoning.