A rezoning request in Sugar Grove Borough met some resistance from the Warren County Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday.
During their meeting, commission members discussed a request from Eric and Lisa Hagberg to rezone a parcel across from Grant Lumber outside of Sugar Grove on Big Tree Road. The property is currently split between two zoning districts. The majority of the lot is R-1, low-density residential, with a portion of the lot zoned ACR (Agriculture, Conservation, Residential.)
Zoning Officer Aaron Kalkbrenner said the Hagbergs have expressed interest in installing self-storage units on the property.
County Planning Director Dan Glotz clarified for the commission that its task is to make a recommendation to the county commissioners, who would give or deny final approval.
Sugar Grove Mayor Dutch Strand, in attendance and asked for his view on the request, said, "The only thing I've heard is that it is right in the middle of a residential (district.) Are you going to have to do spot zoning?"
Commission member Paul Pascuzzi asked whether Sugar Grove Borough Council discussed the request and Strand said it had not.
Kalkbrenner explained that while ACR districts permit self-storage units, residential districts do not. Glotz said the residential portion of the parcel is up against Big Tree Road. "If they want it on Big Tree Road, it needs to be rezoned," Kalkbrenner added.
"When you make it business, what's the least restrictive?" Pascuzzi asked. "Business is the least restrictive."
"You can allow for more. You can still have a house there," Kalkbrenner said.
"Once it's zoned business, the next generation 50 years from now has a business out there and the neighbors are saying 'I can't believe they did this' and they start pointing the finger at the (borough0 council," Pascuzzi said. "It's going to be interesting when this is presented at the county commissioners."
Glotz said other options exist, such as rezoning the entire lot, fronting Big Tree Road back a certain distance or zoning the area Business Transitional which would require approval by the zoning hearing board.
"When you go from more restrictive to less restrictive, it makes an impact on the community," Pascuzzi added.
Lisa Hagberg told commission members that there is "another piece to this puzzle," explaining that two retail opportunities may be available one chain and one local.
"Whether it's a Dollar Store or whatever it is, there will be as many people for it as against it," Commission Chairman Dale Forbes said.
"When you look at allowable uses, there is one looser district that is not in the borough - industrial," Glotz said. "Counties can pick and choose whatever districts are most appropriate for their locale."
Hagberg clarified their request, indicating that they are "not asking for the whole parcel to be rezoned" and instead have requested four acres of road frontage along Big Tree Road. "If a (chain) retail can go in there, it brings to town seven jobs," Hagberg said, adding that the local retailer would bring four jobs.
"It's not uncommon for zoning lines to (cut) properties," Glotz noted.
Commission members unanimously decided to table the request until next month. County planning staff was asked to comprise a list of possible options and talk with the adjacent property owners to solicit their opinions regarding the request.