Two businesses set to open, but one must wait

Friday, June 24, 2011

Marshall County's Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday granted one request for a business operated at a home in Verona, but postponed another similar request to give a banker time to inspect the property where another home occupation might start business.

The request that was granted will allow William Middleton, 2318 Verona Caney Road, to have an Internet-based sales business in his home, according to the county's zoning administrator, Don Nelson, who serves the BZA chaired by Clinton Edmonson.

Middleton "sells motors for hydraulic boat lifts," Nelson said. "Once the business gets going they (Middleton and a partner who's working elsewhere) may move the business to the Percy Priest Lake area. Now, he may receive a Fed Ex shipment, but the neighbors won't know about his work.

"He won't actually open," Nelson said, because the business' public persona is in cyberspace. "He just wanted to have permission and do it above board" with a special exception to the zoning code for a home occupation.

Meanwhile, Mary Ann Heithcock of 2508 Verona Caney Road requested a special exception home occupation permit so that she and her husband, Terry, could operate an auto oil change and auto detailing business at their home.

"They were just looking for something to keep busy with and provide a service to the community," Nelson said.

If the request were granted, and if they moved, the new resident couldn't continue the business there without another special exception, Nelson explained.

The BZA conducted a public hearing for both requests Tuesday and, Nelson said, "A lawyer for the bank holding the (Heithcock's) mortgage came to the hearing and opposed it. The bank has a lien on the property and the lawyer said the bankers felt it (a home occupation) would devalue the property."

Mary Ann Heithcock argued that the business would improve the couple's ability to make mortgage payments, Nelson said.

Furthermore, she said that "Nobody from the bank had come to the property recently to see it," according to the county officials report of the exchange during the hearing.

"So the matter was tabled until somebody from the bank came out and looked at the property and then returned to the board to restate the bank's position," Nelson said, identifying the attorney as Joseph Jenson of Franklin.

Another BZA meeting has not been scheduled. The panel meets on an as-needed basis.