At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, the panel recommended the City Council approve rezonings for all four of its November applicants, of whom two were the city itself.
In a 4-1 decision, with Commissioner Jason Waters opposed and Patrick Thompson absent, the commission approved an application by property owner Wallace Neal to rezone 1.6 acres at 1690 Cobb Parkway South near Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
The property is zoned light industrial, but Neal wants it rezoned commercial, for which it has been historically used, including a stint as the Plane View restaurant.
Neal’s representative, attorney Garvis Sams, said a prospective retail tenant was denied a business license because the proposed use did not match the zoning.
“We want to legitimize it,” he said about the grandfathered-in use.
The building has some fire damage, according to a staff report, and Sams said Neal is trying to avoid its condemnation.
“We’re working with code enforcement,” Sams said, adding that his client has “until the end of this month” to improve the site.
If approved, the variances the applicant requested will “disappear” when the property is “redeveloped,” commission Chair Bob Kinney said.
“Right now the building is in disarray,” said Commissioner John Schupp, a developer. “There’s no roof on there, there’s no A/C, there’s no electrical utilities.”
However, bringing it up to code does not constitute redevelopment, which is defined as construction costing more than 50 percent of the building’s value, Planning and Zoning Director Rusty Roth said.
The city of Marietta requested two rezonings.
In the first, the city requested its vacant 1-acre parcel at 1004 Roswell St., near Cobb Parkway, and 6,600 square feet of unimproved right of way between 320 and 340 Lockheed Ave. be designated commercial.
The Roswell Street property, which the city acquired for a 2006 streetscape and widening project, currently has two zoning categories, commercial and office space. The designation would clarity the property’s zoning.
“During the preparation of the plat to combine the subject parcel with adjacent parcels, it was discovered that the parcel was ‘split-zoned.’ Prior to being obtained by the City, two parcels with different zoning classifications had been combined to form the subject parcel,” said a memo from the Department of Development Services.
The Lockheed Avenue property’s rezoning was “initiated by one of the adjoining property owners,” Roth said about the land near South Marietta Parkway and Cobb Parkway.
Marietta tax records show the neighbors are Lyberta Hanks to the north and Lloyd Nawrocki to the south.
The two requests were approved 5-0.
The commission also voted 5-0 to approve rezoning for 1749 Canton Road so trucking company Big Iron Express can give a “safe haven” to the big rig engines parked by its long-haul tractor-trailer drivers, applicant Thomas E. Devine Jr. said.
Devine said at the meeting it is a matter of life and death, although he did not offer examples of specific crimes.
“The only reason I leased the property is to have a safe haven for our drivers,” he said. “Our having to park our tractors and trailers wherever we can, we’re having a lot of thefts. We’re having people get beaten up and killed because we don’t have a safe haven for our trucks. This was my best idea to get my business off the ground.”
The zoning requests now move on to the next Marietta City Council meeting, which will be Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St.