Property once planned for the second phase of Mullins Crossing has taken another step toward returning to its original residential zoning.
On Thursday, Columbia County planning commissioners approved the rezoning of about 22 acres on Washington Road from general commercial to single-family residential.
No one spoke in favor or opposition at the meeting.
The parcel, owned by the Mullins family, was first rezoned for commercial use in 2006. On that application, officials said the signature of partial property owner Fred Mullins was needed to make the zoning valid.
In August, county commissioners sent a letter to Mullins, who is the medical director of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, to ask him if he had any knowledge of the rezoning.
When Mullins did not respond within 30 days, officials decided to correct the error by initiating the residential rezoning. They plan to initiate another process to properly rezone the land to commercial.
"I'm concerned with the lack of response to the official request from the county attorney," planning commissioner Bob Newkirk said. "However, with that said, there is business before the county that has to be done."
Commissioners still must approve the zoning board's recommendation. They'll meet Dec. 14.
Because the rezoning likely will occur before the end of 2010, the county will collect thousands less in property taxes. With a commercial zoning, the county stood to collect more than $42,500 in property taxes. When the property was zoned residential in 2005, the county collected about $6,200.
The item first came before the planning commission in June, when board members denied the Mullins family's request to table the issue and the rezoning itself. According to that meeting agenda, the Mullins family was seeking a reduction in property taxes.
Plans for the site, once expected to be anchored by Hobby Lobby, were put on hold two years ago.
"We do need to move forward with this so the county can move forward with their decisions," Chairwoman Jean Garniewicz said.
The property is currently used for a residence and a business. With a residential zoning, the business, Chem-Dry Cleaners, would be operating as a nonconforming use.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
Planning commissioners approved a final plat for the first section of Grimaud Farms off White Oak Road. The 39.3-acre property will consist of eight lots.
During the final planning commission meeting of 2010, the board discussed high points of the year, which included revising the county's growth management plan and updating development codes.
The planning board and staff recognized administrative specialist Linda Lindley for 15 years of service with the county.
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