Rezoning request stumbles

Published 8:56 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2007

By Staff
Gets a second chance at council’s May meeting
Contributing Editor
Washington’s City Council will have to take a second look at changing the rezoning classification of 23.68 acres on the south side of Dan Taylor Road from RA-20 to R-15S.
During its meeting Monday night, the council voted 3-2 to change the zoning classification from residential agricultural to residential single family. The R-15S designation allows for smaller lots than the RA-20 designation. Council members Richard Brooks, Mickey Gahagan and Ed Gibson voted to change the classification. Council members Archie Jennings and Darwin Woolard voted against the change.
Because changing the zoning classification would result in changing the city’s ordinances, state law requires a two-thirds majority of the council to approve the change. The 3-2 vote did not meet that “super majority” requirement, so the attempt to change the zoning classification failed.
The council may vote on the matter at its next regularly scheduled meeting, which is scheduled for May 14. At that meeting, a simple majority vote can change the zoning classification.
The Planning Board unanimously recommended the council change the zoning classification, which had been requested by Zane Buckman, agent for Dan Taylor Road LLC, which plans to build a residential development on the land.
Several neighboring landowners voiced their opposition to the proposed change.
Toby Alligood said he doesn’t see the need to change the zoning classification to allow higher density development, which he said is not suitable for an area that’s mostly rural in nature. Alligood said small lots “are not going to develop nice.”
Harry Bailey said he could support a residential development with larger lots and lower density. Bailey said he favors a residential project such as Tree Shade off U.S. Highway 264 east of central Washington. That project’s larger lots and houses that cost about $400,000 would be acceptable to him for the residential development proposed for the 23.68 acres off Dan Taylor Road, Bailey said.
The project’s proposed “patio” houses would not be acceptable to him, Bailey said.
Buckman told the council that opponents have misconceptions about the proposed project. He said the houses would be quality houses. Labeling them as “patio” houses is wrong, he said. Buckman said the “patio” label is being applied to the houses because they would be built on smaller lots that are allowed in the R-15S zone but not in the RA-20 zone.
Speakers also voiced concerns with drainage and setback requirements. Some neighboring landowners said they didn’t find out about the request to change the zoning classification until two to three days before the request was heard by the Planning Board. They said notification about the request was inadequate. They also said they wished the developer would have talked to them about the project.
Jennings suggested the request be remanded to the Planning Board for a “full vetting” of neighboring landowners’ concerns and to provide them an opportunity to learn more about the project. His suggestion was not taken up.
Buckman said some opponents of the project were informed about it at least a year ago. He said the builder of Tree Shade would be building the project on Day Taylor Road.
In other business, the council voted 4-1 to meet at 5 p.m. May 3 to discuss what the city wants to do with the former Evans Seafood property.
Jennings voted against the meeting, saying he would prefer to discuss the property after the council finishes its work on putting together the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Jennings said he considers formulating the budget a more pressing need than discussing the future of the former Evans Seafood property.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Daily News.