A Franklin County car dealer had his application to rezone his property in the Gray Summit area rejected by the county’s planning and zoning commission.
The plan board voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend the denial of Carl Zerna Jr.’s request to rezone 26.76 acres from community development (CD) to commercial activity/highway service (CA). The parcel is located on Highway 100 at Northridge Drive.
The plan board’s recommendation will be passed along to the Franklin County Commission. The commission will host a public hearing on the request and make the final decision.
The board rejected the request citing the future land use map and Zerna’s past experience with the county.
Zerna received a conditional use permit for the same parcel back in 2010. In December 2015, the county inspected the property and found Zerna to be in violation of the CUP.
The plan board gave Zerna the first half of 2016 to address the issues — namely the fact that the site wasn’t paved and didn’t seem to have any business operating on the site. In July 2016, the board revoked the CUP.
The board of zoning adjustment voted in November 2016 to uphold the commission’s revocation.
Since the CUP was first awarded in 2010, the county has adjusted the zoning districts. With the change, car sales are no longer a permitted use in the CD district meaning the only way for Zerna to move his business to the site would be to apply for a rezoning.
Rob Schmittgens, representing Zerna, told the commission his client wanted the rezoning to relocate his business from several miles away at 2229 Highway 100. Schmittgens argued the zoning district allows ATV sales, so car sales should be no problem.
Schmittgens also said cars are important to the county because, according to the master plan, the county has more than 2,500 miles of road. He said the majority of people in the county need cars to drive and Zerna offers affordable cars.
Schmittgens said the new location would allow Zerna the chance to have a bigger inventory and allow more people to get an affordable car.
The county’s future land use map shows the area as a medium-density residential area. Chairman Bill Evans said he wasn’t comfortable opening up the property to a commercial enterprises in a residential area.
Commissioner Dan Haire said the CA district opens up 36 possible uses and there were some that made him uncomfortable. Schmittgens said Zerna only wanted the rezoning for his car business.
The board told Schmittgens that it has to prepare for all possibilities because Zerna could always change his mind and sell the property. Schmittgens said Zerna had no plans to sell.
Commission Russell McCreary questioned if the board should take Zerna’s word at face value. McCreary said Zerna wouldn’t have had to be in front of the commission had he followed through on the CUP.
McCreary said the board gave Zerna the chance to move his business and “it didn’t work.” He said Zerna showed an unwillingness to comply with the county’s conditions so he wondered why the board would open the property up to a wider range of permitted uses with no conditions.
Schmittgens had no response to McCreary. The board then voted unanimously to support the denial of Zerna’s request.