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Rezoning draws company to in-town site

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By Greg Summers

Lancaster City Council passed a rezoning request Tuesday night to allow a construction company office and warehouse to locate at 305 E. Arch St.
The vote to change the zoning from R-10 (Residential) to B-2 (Neighborhood Commercial) was unanimous. While property owner James Boswell had originally requested a B-3 (General Commercial) rezoning to also allow the sales and service of golf carts, city council opted for the B-2 classification.
At one time, the building, which is on a .28-acre lot, was the office of Liberty Life Insurance Co. Later it became the Kanawha Insurance Agency office. It has been vacant for several years. It is beside Communication Station Pediatric Speech and Language Center, a preschool.
The city’s planning commission recommended B-2 due to homes in the area, as well as the fire station and Municipal Justice Center.
“B-3 is the wild, wild west, and anything goes,” said Doug McClellan, the city’s code enforcement officer.
McClellan said the commission thought B-2 was better fit since it is considered as a transition between businesses and homes. McClellan said there is no way the building could be used for residential property, and the zoning change is a way to “meet half-way” with Boswell and use it as commercial property.
City Councilman Gonzie Mackey wanted to make sure all the possible options to use the property had been discussed with Boswell. McClellan said they had and noted that if the B-3 rezoning would be allowed, a future tenant would have carte blanche to do what ever they chose to do. He called B-3 a “catch-all” with some uses that “wouldn’t sit well” with neighbors.
“We have to look at the big picture,” McClellan said.
Mackey said city council and the planning commission should look closely at all rezoning requests regardless of whether they are big or small.
“I don’t see where we have people knocking on our doors wanting to bring businesses into the city limits,” Mackey said.
“There could be some more businesses in the same situation. We’re in the position now with our hands tied behind our backs with revenue coming in…. We’re in a situation where we can’t be too picky with what we’re trying to do.”

Contact Greg Summers at (803) 283-1156 or gsummers@thelancasternews.com