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Planning Commission talks storage, rental housing

By Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:41 PM

The Wilson County Planning Commission addressed some changes to a zoning ordinance at its Friday meeting.

Some members of the commission had asked county Planning Director Tom Brashear to look into the definition of a “contractor storage yard” as well as a “bed and breakfast.” The request came after some citizen concerns regarding properties that could qualify for these uses.

Under the new definition as proposed, a contractor storage yard would be defined as “any land or buildings used for storage of tools, equipment, vehicles, materials, sand, rock, gravel, vegetation, paints, pipe or electrical components used in or associated with building or construction.”

Brashear said the proposed change would remove  contractor storage yards from C1 and C2 commercial zones while still allowing them in C3, or highway commercial, zones.

A citizen asked how it would be handled if there was already a contractor storage yard located on a property. Brashear said those that were approved before to the passage of the change would be “grandfathered in.”

“My understanding is they would still be able to use the broader definition,” said Brashear.

A planning commission member asked if a stipulation could be added to the new ordinance that the contractor storage yard could be defined as a piece of land with five or fewer pieces of equipment. This amendment passed unanimously and the entire ordinance was then approved. It will now be forwarded to the county’s Planning and Zoning Committee for consideration.

A second proposed amendment to a zoning ordinance also produced a good deal of discussion. This amendment stemmed from the need to better define what constitutes a bed and breakfast.

“Let’s say that you do [Vacation Rental by Owner] and the police have to be called,” said Brashear. The amendment to the ordinance would require someone to be onsite to answer to authorities about complaints that have been made.

County Commissioner Terry Muncher said the complaint that Brashear referenced came from a constituent in his district.

“The situation is a homeowner on Old Hickory Lake who has moved to another state, but rents out his house for parties, frat parties, etc.,” Muncher said. “I think this is a very reasonable response to allow people to continue to rent homes, but to give some responsibility to those who cause problems.”

A neighbor of the house in question spoke of his concern for the welfare of those around the location.

“I do live across the street from this location,” Buddy Rhett said. “Something like this affects out property, our lives, etc.”

Board member Gilbert Graves asked if Brashear could bring the commission back something else to consider at its next meeting. Brashear said, “To go completely back to the drawing board, I don’t know what I’d come back with.”

The measure was ultimately deferred for 60 days to allow Brashear time to come back with different wording.

“I’ll contact neighboring planning departments and see what they are doing with these issues,” Brashear said.

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