Nick's Produce expansion gets rezoning recommendation

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A produce market on Highway 99 has been growing and this month Marshall County planning commissioners granted the owner's request and are recommending that county commissioners reclassify the land purchased for expansion.

"We bought the place next to us and put the flowers in there, and they wanted us to rezone," said Nick Sorrow of Nick's Produce at 1395 Highway 99. "We joined two properties together and we put more flowers out. I will sell Christmas trees next year."

Planning Commission Chairman Ray Wakefield introduced Sorrow's request to the commission during its monthly meeting, noting the request is to rezone the recently acquired property that is now zoned for an agricultural use. It is now to be rezoned for a commercial use.

That's a compatible use of the land since property on the other side of the fruit stand is also a business, Wakefield noted.

Planning Commissioner Craig Michael moved and Commissioner Mary Ann Neill seconded to recommend county commissioners change the land use classification and the vote was unanimous.

Canned tomatoes, cantaloupes, oranges, peaches, flowers, firewood, peanuts, beans, onions, jams, jellies, cider and honey have been available at Nick's Produce business for about a decade, Sorrow said.

His suppliers are in "different places," he said. They include Mennonites, Kentucky Amish folk and various farmers.

Just as Sorrow's rezoning could be approved by the Marshall County Commission when it meets at the end of January, the county's Planning Commission also voted on Dec. 16 to recommend rezoning of land for a machine shop.

Jason Warner has about a acre on Crutcher Road where he wants to run a machine shop, Wakefield announced to the planning commissioners.

"There was a machine shop there," the Planning Commission chairman said, "but the previous owner died and the special exception expired with him."

Special exceptions to strict enforcement of zoning regulations exist for various reasons. Some include a business that was in operation prior to the enactment of the zoning code. That common law right, sometimes referred to as grandfather rights, ends when the so-called grandfather dies.

"The neighbors were used to it," Zoning Codes Administrator Don Nelson advised planning commissioners. "People there knew it would be rezoned...

"Nobody will be living in it," Nelson said of the machine shop.

Michaels seconded Neill's motion to recommend the rezoning to county commissioners when they meet on Jan. 26. Planning commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation.

Also during the Dec. 16 meeting of the Planning Commission, the chairman asked panelists to consider a new policy.

The proposal is to notify adjoining counties when there's to be a rezoning of land that's adjacent to another county, Wakefield said.

County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett forwarded the recommendation to the Planning Commission, the chairman noted.

"Rutherford County does it," Nelson reported.

However, Giles County does not have land use zoning, so it's not an issue with officials there, Nelson explained.

Two other bordering counties, Bedford and Williamson, have planning commissions as well as boards of zoning appeals to deal with rezoning recommendations and requests for variances from strict enforcement.

"It's a good practice in the interest of mutual cooperation," advised Kristin Costanzo, a state planner assigned to the county through a contract with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Neill moved to accept the proposed policy and it was adopted unanimously.