Less than a month after receiving a unanimous recommendation from the city’s planning commission, Hendersonville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted down last week a request to rezone property on East Main Street that would have allowed for a second Firestone Tire Center.
Hendersonville planning commission members recommended 10 to 0 on Aug. 6 an ordinance to rezone 1.04 acres east of Callender Lane and north of East Main Street from rural residential to general commercial.
FS Hendersonville, LLC requested the zoning change in order to build a corporate-owned Firestone Complete Auto Care.
Located to the east of Lowe’s Home Improvement and Fifth-Third Bank and across the street from other commercial property, the rezoning would comply with the city’s Land Use and Transportation Plan, Senior Planner Grant Green told planning commission members.
The one-acre property is owned by Ewing Chenault and is contiguous to 73 acres of farmland that is owned by other members of the Chenault family.
During the Aug. 27 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Hendersonville Firestone owner Jamie Houdeshell urged leaders to deny the rezoning.
Houdeshell is an independent Firestone franchisee whose Indian Lake Boulevard business is less than two miles from the proposed corporate-owned site.
“My principle reason for being here is, do we really need a new tire store?” Houdeshell asked aldermen. He then named 10 tire and auto service businesses in the East Main Street area.
“So if you want tires or service, you have a great selection already,” he said. Houdeshell also said it would be hard for him to compete with the same business that he buys his tires from.
Ward 4 Alderman Andy Bolt also asked aldermen to deny the rezoning.
Bolt noted that 73 acres east of the property is still zoned rural residential.
“What we’re looking at here is a very, very small portion – roughly one acre has been pulled out to be developed commercially,” said Bolt. “I’m uncomfortable with that. I’d rather it be part of more of an overall plan as it relates to those acres… this doesn’t fit with the rest of those 73 acres.”
Alderman Steve Brown, who also represents Ward 4 asked why the zoning change wouldn’t be considered spot zoning.
“Actually, technically it’s not,” said Planning Director Keith Free. Free noted that property across Main Street and across Callender Lane are zoned for general commercial use – and that the city’s Land Use and Transportation Plan designates it to develop commercially as well.
“So it wouldn’t fit the specific definition of spot zoning,” he said.
Bolt said he would like to see a plan for all of the property that is currently zoned rural residential rather than see one piece rezoned.
Ward 5 Alderman Darrell Woodcock, who sits on the planning commission, noted that a recent survey of the city’s available land for potential office and corporate relocation sites showed just two sites in the East Main Street area with more than 10 acres. One of those is the Chenault farm, Woodcock noted.
The request to rezone the property failed 2 to 11 with Mayor Jamie Clary and Ward 2 Alderman Scott Sprouse voting for the zoning change.