If you’re following LPDS closely (and if you’re reading this, we’re pretty sure that you are), no doubt you’ve heard the phrase “spot-zoning” thrown around pretty regularly. In fact, this is one of the more commonly-used arguments against LPDS, so we’d like to briefly address it here. (We’ve never “briefly” addressed anything in our lives. Ed.)
Spot-zoning is just what it sounds like, changing the zoning permissions for one particular piece of land while leaving the parcels nearby in their original zoning configuration.
If you want a more textbook definition, then law.com defines it as: “a provision in a general plan which benefits a single parcel of land by creating a zone for use just for that parcel and different from the surrounding properties in the area.”
Spot zoning is, by the way, not always a bad thing. For instance, putting a police substation in a residential area might require spot zoning. Or a school, for that matter. We’re big fans of the dog park over on Whit Davis Road, and we wonder if any changes in zoning were necessary to create the park there.
(We also wonder if we couldn’t get something like that on the west side, but that’s a different post for a different day.)
Opponents of LPDS will tell you that spot zoning is necessary in order for Bruno Rubio to develop the land. This isn’t actually the case.
The Cofer’s property, which we’d like to see made into LPDS, is actually already spot-zoned. LPDS merely seeks to reverse that existing spot zoning, and to return the property to its original zoning, under the existing land-use plan.
As it stands right now, just about the only thing that can go on that particular parcel of land is another lawn and garden store like Cofer’s. Our understanding is that they had to request the rezoning in order to build their greenhouse.
With Lowe’s coming to the east side, and with already existing businesses like Charmar nearby, what are the chances that anyone would want to put another store like Cofer’s in that location? Heck, Cofer’s went under in that location, so it doesn’t exactly lend itself to inspiring confidence in anyone else wanting to do the same thing there.
The fact is that the land was zoned commercial, as Super-Commissioner (and poverty warrior) Elton Dodson has pointed out. Cedar Shoals Drive was intended, under the ACC Land Use Plan, to be a commercial corridor. And nothing short of rezoning the entire area is going to change that.
The question is then, what type of development do we want to see on Cedar Shoals Drive?
We’ve been clear all along. This is a good development; it’s a project that the ACC Planning Commission approved unanimously. The Planning Commission, much like the residents, carefully considered the problems of traffic and noise, and found those concerns to be negligible. (The nearest homeowner lives almost three football fields away, and the existing surface streets can easily handle the marginal increase in traffic volume, says the Planning Commission)
So if not LPDS, then what? Another big box store? Another cookie-cutter TGI O’Applebee’s restaurant? An office park that turns into a ghost town after dark?
Or a destination with truly local flavor and truly local color, that contributes more to the local economy than any of the other options ever would?
The most important point is that this is not spot zoning. It’s the reversal of spot zoning.
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