02/16/10 — Ash Street neighbors oppose rezoning site

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Ash Street neighbors oppose rezoning site

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 16, 2010 1:46 PM

The request sounded simple enough: Rezone a site along Ash Street currently marked office and institutional to general business.

But for Kelly Overby and her son, Travis, the switch, they said, would be an intrusion.

The property that came before City Council members during their lone public hearing Monday evening sits 10 feet from the Overby's home -- a house that has been in the family for four generations.

"(The property), it's built right on the line," Mrs. Overby said. "I mean right on the line."

So the notion that the council might make it easier to fill the vacant building by making the change to general business -- a move that would allow more types of establishments to rent the space -- has her worried.

"It's not business right in that general area. Those are homes. People live there," Mrs. Overby said. "This really worries me."

And Travis is worried about the type of people the business might attract to the area.

"Ash Street is right there," he told the council. "That's bad enough."

But Jim Goff, whose wife owns two-thirds of the building in question, disagreed with the mother and son.

"I'm sorry," he said. "This is a commercial area."

And in the current economic climate, those who own the facility -- located on the northeast corner of Ash and Leslie streets -- need the zoning change to make it more appealing to potential tenants.

"This is a bad economic condition," Goff said. "And we need flexibility."

And he rejected the Overby's claims that a change to general business would mean more problems to the homeowners living behind the site.

In fact, one potential tenant is a former pastor who sells "Christian books."

But Mrs. Overby, who said she has seen much about the neighborhood change since her grandmother lived in the home she, too, has grown to love, is still concerned.

"That home is very dear to my heart," she said. "So I just wanted to come voice my concerns."

"We hear you ma'am," Mayor Al King replied.

Within minutes of the public hearing coming to a close, the final council meeting of the month was over without any action taken on the matter.

But earlier in the evening at their work session, board members held a significant vote when City Engineer Marty Anderson, for the fourth time, came before them with a list of streets in need of resurfacing.

Those that will be completed this year -- it will cost just more than $500,000 -- include:

* West Chestnut Street, from James Street to George Street

* East Chestnut Street, from Center Street to William Street

* South Slocumb Street, from Spruce Street to Elm Street

* South Slocumb Street, from Dixie Trail to Harrell Street

* South Slocumb Street, from Westbrook Road to Seymour Drive

* South Slocumb Street, from Seymour Drive to Wisteria Road

* South Slocumb Street, from Seymour Drive to Stoney Creek Drive

* Westbrook Road, from Slocumb Street to the railroad

* Park Avenue Circle, from Herman Street to Jackson Street

* Cox Boulevard, from Wayne Memorial Drive to 50 feet beyond McLamb Place

* North Jefferson Street, from Ash Street to Ninth Street.