City council takes up zoning issue

Apr. 06, 2013 @ 10:39 PM

Easing restrictions on Julia and Frances avenues and allowing mental health counseling as a home occupation in Henderson are two items scheduled for public hearings Monday at City Hall.

The Henderson City Council will also decide on proposals to:

• nix an economic development grant for Vescom America;

• approve a $295,000 bid on equipment purchases already budgeted;

• expand David Street Park.

Henderson City Manager Ray Griffin said he saw little or no controversy in the work of the council in session starting at 6 p.m. Monday.

Griffin said the 85 tracts of land in the Julia and Frances avenues area are small. It is agreed that the zoning rules on them are set for larger tracts, making the easements and setback requirements too restrictive for the smaller lots.

John H. Zollicoffer, the city attorney, reported to city staff a proposal to allow mental health counseling as a home occupation in Henderson needs to be reworked, Griffin said.

“The city attorney has some concerns about it,” Griffin said. “He would like the planning board to consider it again so it can be worked on and possibly resubmitted at a later date.”

Zollicoffer was not present when the planning board voted to recommend Frances Finamore’s request to change the rules so a home-based mental health occupation could take place at 710 Parham St.

According to Zollicoffer, some city zoning districts allow listed home occupations, but the location in question is not one of them.

The problem is that the proposed rule change would allow mental health counseling only in Finamore’s Parham Street zoning district, but not allow any other occupations, and the counseling would not be allowed anywhere else, including where a list of home occupations are now permitted.

Nixing an economic development grant program for Vescom America Real Estate Holding would take up to five $12,000 annual incentive grants off the table a year after the company arrived and expanded operations.

Griffin said that city staff sought to contact Vescom America about submitting information required to get grant payments started, but there has been no response.

He added that it is a matter of “due diligence” not to leave the offer to age out “on the table” as needed information on expansion hires, part of the incentive requirement, is not released by the company.

The $295,000 equipment purchase budgeted for the 2013 fiscal year is slated to be paid through SunTrust Equipment Finance & Leasing Corp., buying a dump truck, a tractor/bush hog, a backhoe and a service truck for the utility departments.

The loan program will run for five years.

The council discussed expanding David Street Park at a March work session, indicating their general opinion in favor. The decision is part of a three-point consent agenda that can be voted on by a single motion without further discussion, provided there are no objections. 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.