Government

City denies zoning request for downtown warehouse

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Heading into Monday’s Crawfordsville Common Council meeting with an unfavorable recommendation from other city boards was a rezoning ordinance proposed in April which would allow for the construction of a business warehouse on West Market Street downtown.

Following review and discussion by Mayor Todd Barton, Planning Director Brandy Allen and council members, the proposal was turned down by unanimous decision.

Reasons for the denial were presented by Allen, saying the warehouse would have been constructed in a narrow corridor in the 200 block of West Market Street, adding that the idea simply did not make sense for the area.

“It’s a really small lot and the ordinance requires a 40-foot setback between commercial and residential, and the lot’s just barely over 40 feet. It can be reduced to 20 feet if you are able to provide a proper barrier — landscaping or fencing, something along those lines. They wouldn’t be able to meet that,” Allen said.

“Even if we rezoned this property to allow them to construct this, they would still need a hearing from the Board of Zoning Appeals, so we thought it was best to not approve this request.”

Councilman Jeff Lucas requested clarity surrounding the decision, asking why the board would choose to stop the ordinance in its tracks rather than allow the Board of Zoning Appeals to approve or deny the warehouse.

“Because of the situation of that specific site, it seems like not really the best location. That would be used for business and would have to get a variant. From our perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s not a lot that is most suited for business purposes,” Allen said. “[The BZA] hasn’t reviewed the situation yet. It does not meet the ordinance. That’s why it has to come to the board. The board’s purpose is basically to review any situation which does not meet the ordinance and see if there are any details around the situation that would make it acceptable.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved and adopted an ordinance to appropriate monies from the ARP Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Montgomery County Drug Court.

• Approved an ordinance repealing and replacing a city code concerning Historic Preservation in downtown Crawfordsville. The new ordinance allows for an appeal process for homeowners and business owners should they wish to be exempt from the historic district, which did not exist in the former ordinance. The move brings the city’s code in line with state recommendations.

• Approved an ordinance prohibiting parking on the east side of Sycamore Drive from Jennison Street along property owned by Wabash College north to 714 Sycamore Drive.

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