Bedford County Planning Commission recommended a zoning change in the Rover area, but not in the form included on their agenda.
Benton Poore owns a pre-existing home at 4360 U.S. 41A, in the A-1 (agriculture) zone, which he would like to convert from a single-family residence into a duplex. The county zoning staff had recommended that he seek a re-zoning to C-1 (commercial), which allows duplexes.
"All I want to do is make another apartment," said Poore.
But planning commission members, noting that the zoning change must eventually be approved by Bedford County Board of Commissioners, said it might be wiser to seek R-1 (residential) zoning instead of C-1.
Duplexes are also allowed in R-1 as a special exception, meaning that once the property has been rezoned, Poore would have to take the extra step of going before the Board of Zoning Appeals to request a special exception. That extra step is why the staff had recommended commercial zoning instead. With a commercial rezoning, Poore could proceed with the project as soon as the rezoning had been approved.
The zoning office mailed out 64 notice letters to nearby property owners telling them of the possible zoning change. Five were returned as undeliverable. No one who received a letter contacted the zoning office to express an objection.
Planning commission member Jimmy Woodson, who is also a member of the county commission, said that, even though Poore's request doesn't seem to have any opposition from the neighbors, the county commission sometimes questions commercial zoning.
Once a property has been zoned commercial, it's available for any use allowed in that zone, not just the originally intended or announced use. The potential that the site might someday be used for some objectionable commercial business is sometimes enough to cause neighbors to object or a rezoning to be denied.
Woodson said that, even though a re-zoning to R-1 would require an extra step, it would be less likely to run into trouble along the way.
"I think you've got a better chance of getting it passed as residential," agreed planning commission member Wayne Simons.
Some planners also seemed under the impression that R-1 zoning would result in a lower property tax bill than C-1 zoning. County planning director Chris White, however, said that a property's tax classification is based on how the property is used, not on how it is zoned.
A motion was made to recommend rezoning the property to R-1, and it passed the planning commission by voice vote. The rezoning request now goes to the county commission's rules and legislative committee, which meets Oct. 16, and then to the full county commission, which meets Nov. 13.
In other business, planners discussed amendments to local subdivision regulations. They eventually decided that the existing regulations, which hadn't been looked at in some time, need to be reviewed and tweaked before any additions are made to them.
They deferred action on changes and asked the county's planning consultant, Amanda Rhinehart of South Central Tennessee Development District, to review the existing document.