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P&Z gives nod to auto shop
Charlie Stafford (left) addressing planning and zoning members Les Fussell and Fred Giebrich. - photo by Ross Blair

Charlie Stafford was approved for a conditional permit use for a vehicle maintenance and restoration shop on part of his 1.8 acre proposed vehicle storage facility behind Coastal Communications and Flash Foods. The ruling was made during Monday’s meeting of the Richmond Hill Planning and Zoning Board.

Unlike the city council and planning and zoning meetings prior, this one received no one speaking out against the land use.

Stafford said he is pleased with the lack of negativity, and attributes this to Mulberry residents now having a better understanding of what his land proposal was about.

"It seems like everything that is proposed is met with some kind of opposition until proven otherwise," said Stafford. "And I think they now understand the project a little better."

Like all planning and zoning rulings, the request will now be sent to city council for a final approval.

At the June 19 council meeting, rezoning was approved for Stafford’s land use. A packed house full of opposing Mulberry residents filled city hall for that session.

Stafford plans to build two buildings to store vehicles and one to restore vehicles. He said the restoration shop will be used to restore his classic cars with part of one of the storage buildings used to store his vehicles. For the remainder of the space, he plans to have rental space available for others to park their automobiles or boats "to offset the costs of the buildings."

In addition, he plans to utilize a 60-foot easement access the structures. The easement is at the beginning of Mulberry Subdivision.

In other business:

- Approval was granted to recommend to council the request of Michael Casey to rezone his two residential lots, which is 1.5 acres and includes his private residence and the empty lot next to it, to neighborhood commercial.

Casey said he doesn’t have any immediate development plans, but wants to rezone it to "see if anyone would be interested in the lots for commercial use.

The lots are located at Magnolia Street and highway 144 and one block away from an existing commercial strip that includes Tassels Jewelry and Hoof & Woof.

• Approval was granted to recommend to council the request of Kenny Patel to combine a 40-foot easement and a 3.7-acre lot at the corner of Ponderosa and highway 17, across from Hampton Inn, to potentially build another hotel. Patel currently owns the Hampton, the Best Western and Comfort Suites, which all neighbor each other.

• Approval was granted to recommend to council the site plans and building elevations of Ella’s owner Dana Lewis to build an accessory building behind Ella’s. Lewis is in the process of purchasing the small white building that sits next to Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in order to then transport it to her facility.

The following agenda items were announced as being planned for the August 13 planning and zoning meeting:

• A parking variance request from Wayne Jackson. This is the first of many building requests for Jackson Court, which will include a laser tag facility and the children-themed restaurant Leaping Lizards.

• A height variance request from Holiday Inn owner San Patel. Patel is requesting to have his forthcoming Holiday Inn Express to have four stories, which exceeds the current building height code. The Express will be built next to the existing Holiday Inn, which will remain open.

• A variance request from land owner Johnny Carnes to change the maximum density on the number of apartments per acre in his upcoming apartment complex, which is being constructed behind Ashton Apartments.

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