Council defers square zoning decision

Sinclaire Sparkman • Jun 5, 2018 at 8:53 PM

The Lebanon City Council deferred its decision to adopt design guidelines and a historic zoning district for the Lebanon Square on Tuesday evening after the council heard a mix of agreement and opposition from citizens.

About 13 residents commented on the historic zoning overlay for the square, which would put in place design guidelines and certain zoning restrictions for the buildings on the square. Residents were about equally split in support of the council to approve or deny the pair of ordinances that would establish design guidelines for square buildings and a zoning overlay to create the Square Historic Preservation District.

The Lebanon Historic Commission began work on the preservation overlay early last year, and the Lebanon Planning Commission approved it on a 5-2 vote in March.

“The general idea is that the façade that is visible from the street will have regulations in keeping with historic character. There’s no authority in there for the city or the historic preservation committee or anybody to require the improvement or change of anything that’s there now,” said Lebanon planning director Paul Corder.

Right now, the square is zoned as a commercial district and has its own downtown distinction. The commercial downtown zoning prohibits businesses like discount tobacco stores and bail bonding from setting up shop on the square, but does not provide guidelines for buildings there.

A motion was first made to deny the design guidelines outright, which failed in a 3-2 vote. Councilor Chris Crowell then made a motion to defer the decision, which passed unanimously.

Another hot topic at the meeting was a zoning amendment for the River Oaks development on the southwest corner of Highway 70 and Palmer Road, which would create an entrance from the development onto Palmer Road. A few residents voiced opposition to the ordinance, and Councilor Rick Bell made a motion to approve it with the entrance taken out. It was approved unanimously.

In other business, the council:

• approved a road contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to repave sections of Leeville Pike and Coles Ferry Pike.

• passed on second reading an ordinance to create stricter regulations for food trucks

• a zoning change to 718 and 722 Park Ave. to commercial neighborhood.

• a gas leak survey.

• ballot placement in the upcoming November election for relevant council members and the Cartmell Scholarship.

• a turn lane at East Division Street and State Route 109 North.

• budget amendments for needs in various departments.

The council will meet in a work session June 14 at 6 p.m. and regular meeting June 19 at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave. 

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