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Owner Seeks to Build 40 ft. Commercial Building Next to Residential

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

UPDATE: The Board of Appeals voted against the variance.

On 17 July at 7:30 PM, there will be a Board of Appeals hearing to decide whether to allow a property owner to obtain a variance to build one 14,000 sq ft building, at 3 stories tall. The property, located adjacent to 1502 S. Main St and the Ridgeville Heights neighborhood, is currently zoned Limited Commercial (LC).

The purpose of LC zoning is to provide a transition between the more dense Community Commercial (CC) zoning and residential neighborhoods. The approved concept plan for the site consisted of three separate 4,900 sq ft 2-story buildings.

However, the owner now wants to "consolidate" the three buildings into one 14,000 sq ft 3-story building at 40 ft tall.

In the image above, the proposed structure appears to dwarf the Mt. Airy Eye Center across S. Main St. Directly behind the parking lot are homes located in the Ridgeville Estates neighborhood.

Town Staff did not give a favorable recommendation for this request for a variance. However, they took it a step further and recommended the property owner request to rezone their property to the more dense Community Commercial for the parcel that is nearest S. Main St., and Neighborhood Professional for the parcels closer to the homes. Puzzling...

Engineering firm VanMar Associates, Inc. says in their application that, while the property could be developed in conformity with the LC zone, the configuration of the parcels has challenging effects on construction of the three separate buildings they were originally approved to build.

They also say, "This variance will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood nor substantially impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent property..."

The public will have the ability to comment (testify) at the Board of Appeals hearing. If you are opposed to a 3-story building being constructed in a Limited Commercial zone which allows up to 2-story buildings, please consider attending and speaking at the hearing:

July 17, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Mount Airy Town Hall, 110 S. Main St

The application, drawings, and staff report are available on the town website for review.

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