Planning and Zoning Commission approves zoning change

The Italy Planning and Zoning Commission met Thursday evening, and approved three zoning changes regarding property along Hwy. 77.

P.J. Leible, owner of the former nursing home at 101 Dunlap Street, requested the zoning change in order to allow an apparel production business to use the facility.

In order to get this accomplished the commission was asked to approve three requests:

  • Amend Retail District 1 by adding “apparel and other products assembled from finished textiles;”
  • Amend Section 18 of Commercial Highway to include Hwy. 77; and
  • Permanently rezone 101 Dunlap Street from Single Family to Commercial Highway.

Joan Grabowski, chair, held a public hearing prior to the called meeting. Dawn Murray, manager of the business wanting to move to that location, said she was there with other employees who were in support of the request.

No one spoke in opposition to the request. Teri Murdock, City Administrator/Secretary, said the city had not received any complaints regarding the zoning request.

Members approved the first amendment as written.

The second request had to be fine-tuned. Currently the Commercial Highway section includes only I-35E; this request would include Hwy. 77 in that section.

Jimmy Hyles, commission member, made the recommendation to add “with a special use permit” to the amendment.

Hyles said, “If we do this as it is written, we will have no control and are stuck with the zoning. It’s fine for now but what if they want to sell the business in 10 years?”

Leible said the ramification of changing the amendment to include a special use permit would make it difficult for anyone to sell. The buyer could not be certain, she explained, if the permit would be granted until the property was purchased.

Hyles added, “There are houses around that area and we need to protect the neighborhood.”

After some discussion between members Floyd Elfrink and Vicente Guerrero regarding the wording, the board approved the zoning request with the addition of “with specific use permit.”

Murdock said, “If the business changes, they would be required to come in and get a specific use permit for any future development.”

Hyles said, “We are just trying to give them what they want without something coming back to haunt the city later.”

Leible said, “For us, this will work. This business is a good fit for the city.”

The third motion passed with the same addition of “with specific use permit.”

A second public hearing is set Monday during the city council meeting. Final approval must come from the city council.