Friday, April 12, 2024

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Planning commission dissenter thinks electric fence won’t go over well with city council


Burlington planning board members recommended approval for two rezoning requests at their Monday night meeting this week.

However, one of the requests, for an expansion of the conditional zoning needed for Adams Towing on Belmont Street, drew a dissent from the former chairman of the planning board who questioned whether city council members would approve it.

Former planning board commission chairman Richard Parker said the existence of a 10-foot-high electric fence just inside the chain link fence surrounding the property at 1213 Belmont Street in a residential area would be a non-starter, he felt, for city council members.

He also characterized the expansion of the number of cars that could be stored on the lot from 50 to 150 as excessive.

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Adams Towing has historically occupied one corner of the block on four parcels; Doug Adams, the owner of the company, has purchased two additional lots (about .337 acres) at the other end of the property, and it was the addition of those properties that prompted the rezoning request for the entire 1.07 acres.

The property is surrounded by a 6-foot high chain link fence.  But it was also revealed that about six to 12 inches behind that fence is another fence that is electrified.  Not mentioned at the meeting, but obvious to a photographer from the newspaper, is that razor wire also tops a portion of the chain link fence in some areas.

[Story continues below photo.]

Most of the site has an electric fence, about 10 feet tall, just inside the chainlink outer fence. Parts of the fencing also has razor wire on the top of the chainlink.

The vote to approve the rezoning was 6-1, with Richard Parker, a former planning board chairman, voting no.


Car wash on Rauhut Street

The proposal, from Manuel Diaz Marquez, had sought a “limited use” form of commercial zoning to permit a carwash and auto detailing business on the site of defunct gas station at 1038 Rauhut Street.

The planning commission had originally been scheduled to hear the request last month.

Marquez’s proposal is the latest in a series of “limited use” requests that the city has recently received from applicants who’ve zeroed in on auto-related businesses as the only requested activities on the property to be rezoned.

City staff wanted the applicant to expand the potential uses to include other allowable uses.  The applicant obliged, including on this month’s version in addition to car wash or automobile detailing, the following: child care center, computer-related services, convenience store (with or without gasoline sales), flea market, repair shop,  restaurant, or wholesale sales.

His daughter presented the request to the planning and zoning commission, outlining that the underlying actual intention – the “priority,” as she termed it – is still to set up a “hand wash car wash.”

She said pressure washing would be used, as well as hand drying the cars.

With the additional changes sought, the planning staff recommended approval, and the planning and zoning commission voted 7-0 in favor of the rezoning request.

Voting in favor were planning commission chairman John Black, vice chairman James Kirkpatrick, and planning board members Charlie Beasley, Holly Hill, Richard Parker, Ethan Raynor, and Lee Roane.

No date was set as to when either request would come before Burlington’s city council.

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