Neighbors concerned over proposed Manchester business
For 67 years David Welborn’s family has owned the home at 909 McArthur St. His dad built it after World War II using lumber from Camp Forrest and it has remained in his family since.
Now, as Manchester city leaders are contemplating the idea of rezoning the neighboring home at 907 McArthur St. from residential to commercial for a proposed business, Welborn is concerned for his property and his neighborhood.
“It is an infringement on the residential property owners who want to be protected from commercial businesses being in the neighborhood that aren’t suitable,” said Welborn, whose grandfather, Heard Lowry Sr., formerly owned property on both sides of the street and donated the land for the Coffee County Hospital.
“There are residential homes used as businesses [in that area] but they maintain the look of a residence so it doesn’t bother anything.”
Glenn Chapman has bought the property at 907 McArthur St. and is proposing a bakery, coffee shop and beauty salon for the building, he said. But first the city must rezone the property from residential to commercial.
Welborn is concerned the building will be used for other purposes.
“I think it is maintaining the neighborhood that people are interested in,” Welborn explained. “We don’t want a pool hall, car lot or a convenience store. It is a possibility that it could be [turned into something else].”
The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen heard the issue at its regularly-scheduled February meeting but failed to pass a measure rezoning the building. Alderman Cheryl Swan voted in favor of a rezoning and Tim Pauley voted no. The four other aldermen – Russell Bryan, Ryan French, Donny Parsley and Roxanne Patton – abstained.
The motion to rezone the property is expected to be brought before the board again tonight (March 4) at its 6:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall.
“When we went to the planning commission [codes director] Paul [Guess] and [engineer] Scott St. John said that area is projected to be commercial [according to the city’s Land Use Plan],” said Swan. “Every home on the right side driving towards Tullahoma is already zoned commercial. I voted yes because that whole area, for future growth of Manchester, is to be zoned commercial. There are close properties to it now that are commercial.
“It’s discouraging to others who want to bring growth to this town,” added Swan. “We went through this several years ago, when I wasn’t on the board, when Kohl’s came and there were time restraints that weren’t met. It’s like we don’t want to bring growth to this town.”
According to Guess, the area in question is supposed to be zoned commercial according to the city’s Land Use Plan.
Some aldermen who abstained stated they were concerned about the property meeting certain requirements.
“My primary concern was that the property was not re-zoned in 2003 with others and would any Lowry Street covenants restrict the property zoning,” said French. “I asked both questions and no answer was provided by the representatives from the planning commission.”
French added that he would be in favor of rezoning if the location meets requirements.
Parsley said he was concerned about a back entrance on Lowry Street.
“I would like to study it a little more,” said Parsley. “I was concerned whether or not there was access off Lowry Street. Some citizens were concerned about that.”
Welborn expressed the same concerns.
“I think if they wanted to put an entrance on Lowry Street they could,” said Welborn. “We have plenty of commercial property where he could put a business without interfering with a neighborhood.”
When asked, Guess reassured that, should the property eventually be rezoned commercial, his department would not allow the business to have access to Lowry Street.
“The city doesn’t allow commercial exits off into a residential area if possible,” said Guess. “If he were to try and put access in without coming to us I would have to take action against him.”
Chapman said he isn’t’ interested in adding an entrance to the building from Lowry Street, which is made up of residential homes.
“We won’t be affecting that area on Lowry Street at all. I know one of the concerns [of some citizens] is that it would affect the ability to walk on Lowry Street.”
Chapman said the lack of action by the city to approve a rezoning is slowing his progress to bring new business to the area.
“We would have it ready in a couple of months … if they wouldn’t have done this we would have had the process moving already. We would be paving,” explained Chapman. “We already have internet. We are ready.”