Planning commission forwards pair of zoning change requests to Marshall City Council

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

No one braved Tuesday's evening showers to comment on a pair of requests during a public hearing held by the Marshall Planning and Zoning Commission.

Both requests received unanimous approval from the commission and will now move on to the Marshall City Council for final consideration. The first request came from Daniel Burkhart who is seeking to amend the zoning ordinance to allow apartments on the first floor of businesses by special use permit. Currently, apartments are allowed only in upper floors.

Burkhart, the owner of Burkhart's Electric, said his wife Claudia is suffering from an illness and will need additional care in the future. In order to provide this care and still maintain his business, Burkhart said he would like to create an apartment for her in his building, but the structure is only one story.

"I don't have a second floor available to me," he said.

The building's modifications would also make it totally handicapped-accessible, an improvement that would serve future owners of the building as well, Burkhart said.

Nate Cole, project engineer for the Claiborne Fox Subdivision, was present to make the second request on behalf of Midwestern Residential Development. The company wants to rezone a number of lots in the subdivision from R-3 multifamily residential and R-2 two-family residential to a Planned Unit Development.

Cole explained the original plan had been for the developer to own the duplexes and lease them to occupants. This evolved into selling the space as condominiums, but this was also unsuccessful. Cole said because the land is not included in the sale of a condominium, financial institutions are leery of lending money to potential buyers.

"That was a vehicle we tried, but we were having trouble marketing," he said.

By moving to planned development zoning, provisions are being made to divide the houses along their common wall so that each side, with its respective property, can be sold separately as townhouses. Cole said that at the request of Marshall Municipal Utilities each side will have separate utilities.

Commissioner Charlie Tryban, who is also Marshall's city administrator, said while the rezoning plan might be new to the commission, the developers have met on multiple occasions with the city's Subdivision Advisory Board.

"It has been looked at quite a bit in detail," he said.

The commissioners also heard an initial presentation from Ronnie Bowman, owner of Bowman Electric, who told them he would like to build a storage building behind his Boyd Street business on a lot that faces Porter Street.

"I moved out of a building with more storage and I didn't think I'd miss it quite this much," he said.

In order for the construction to take place, the property would have to be rezoned from industrial to commercial. Bowman noted that much of the other property in the area along Boyd Street already has the commercial zoning designation.

Bowman also told the commission his plan was not to construct a building that would be out of place in the neighborhood.

"It won't be a large building or anything gaudy," he said.

A public hearing on the matter was scheduled for Tuesday, April 8.

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