HOWARD — After two variances for the property at 23021 Coshocton Road were rejected last week by the Howard Township Zoning Board of Appeals, new life was breathed into possible development of a Dollar General Store in Howard, Thursday night.
Township trustees voted 2-1 to rezone the one-acre parcel from agriculture/residential to B-1 General Business District. Ron Simpson cast the lone vote in opposition after a public hearing regarding the rezoning.
B.J. Ward, owner of the property, told trustees Simpson, Clarence Griffith and Paul Chapman, the change in zoning would bring jobs and tax dollars into the township.
The only opposition voiced in regard to the change came from Danville resident Barbara Banbury, who told the board of trustees she felt that “once you take an acre of agricultural land it never goes back (to agriculture).”
Ward’s wife, Tomi, responded to Banbury’s comment stating that since their property was residential and it was surrounded by other residential properties, the Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District’s Howard Substation and the East Knox Middle School, “the change to agriculture was slim to none.”
During the trustees’ regular meeting, Chapman said he spoke with Assistant Knox County Prosecutor Jennifer Springer regarding issues related to the Wards’ variance requests where Springer pointed out vague or confusing entries she suggested the township look into. While reviewing Springer’s suggestions, Chapman found the Wards’ request for a variance from a 20-foot set back to 10-foot could be settled with a 6-foot high fence, an option that would not require a variance and allow the area required for truck deliveries.
In regard to the application to change the number of parking spaces, it was determined during the meeting the proposed store would accommodate more than enough square-footage for parking per wording in the manual. According to Chapman, the manual does not require the developer to take roadway in and out of the lot when determining the number of parking spots required. The number, however, is determined by the area of floor space — which is one of the vague phrases found in the manual. The manual, according to Chapman, does not require the lot to be paved nor does it specify the parking spots need to be lined.
Griffith, trustee chairman, told the News after the meeting, the board would be conferring with Springer today in order to make sure their interpretation of set back and parking guidelines was accurate before determining if last week’s variance hearing was even necessary.
“The book isn’t explaining it clearly,” Griffith said. “We just need to make sure we get her opinion on it.”