By Dedra Cordle
A request for a variance on setback requirements has some residents in the village of Urbancrest concerned about noise.
At the Nov. 12 meeting, representatives with RISE Commercial District spoke to village council about proposed plans to build a group of 12 to 14 buildings off Lewis Centre Way that would house small and large businesses.
In order to operate their model, they said, they are asking for a setback variance of 20 feet on the south side of the property and 40 feet on the east side of the property. The village code states that potential businesses must abide by their 100 foot setback requirements.
Residents at the meeting said they were not in favor of the request because they believe it would encroach on their property.
“Your buildings would back up to my backyard,” said Theresa Austin.
Austin said she was worried that the variance request would not be enough distance to lessen the noise impact 12 to 14 businesses could generate.
Jim Sapp, president of RISE Commercial District, said there would be minimal noise generated from the business park due to the nature of the companies that would lease space.
According to Sapp, a majority of the companies that would lease space would be small businesses which would mitigate the potential impact of noise. He did, however, say there could be companies that need to use trucks to haul equipment to and from their location.
“They would be straight trucks,” he said, referring to moving trucks or company vehicles. “There would not be any semi-trucks going through.”
Austin said that did little to assuage her concerns.
“We have noisy trucks going through that area everyday and at all times,” she said.
She added that she did not believe the village needed more noise generated from trucks.
While discussing the 20-foot setback on the south side, Joe Clase, the president of Plan for Land, said it is possible it would end up being a 40-foot setback due to utilities in the area.
He also said there would be landscaping efforts (there are no plans to clear the tree-line along John A. Cooley Drive) and further screening to mitigate noise impact and residential ability to see the buildings.
“We are not here to make enemies,” he said. “We want to be good neighbors.”
The company’s request for a variance will be denied due to existing code. They will then apply to the village’s board of zoning appeals for a hearing.
Code enforcement officer Randall Bogue said the application will be reviewed within 30 days but he does not expect the board of zoning appeals to convene before the new year.
The village administration said they would keep the residents abreast of any potential hearing.
In other village news, election night brought a surprise result as incumbent council members Deborah Larkins-Jackson and S. Henry Warr tied at 51 votes for the second seat up for election. Nikky Ziglar-Zimmerman won the first seat. The board of elections is slated to certify the votes next week and conduct a recount of the results. Should the outcome yield the same numbers from the Nov. 5 election, there will be a coin toss to determine who will take the second seat on the village council.