Residents fight rezoning for proposed Dollar General in Middletown

Middletown City Council will decide Aug. 7 if three properties at the corner of Roosevelt Boulevard and Bonita Drive should be rezoned for a proposed Dollar General store. The city’s Planning Commission has already recommended denying the request. ED RICHTER/STAFF

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Middletown City Council will decide Aug. 7 if three properties at the corner of Roosevelt Boulevard and Bonita Drive should be rezoned for a proposed Dollar General store. The city’s Planning Commission has already recommended denying the request. ED RICHTER/STAFF

After being denied by the city’s planning commission, council will hear a rezoning request to build a retail store in a residential district.

Bob Gage, of Brentwood Tenn., has requested that 0.689 acres on the southwest corner of Roosevelt Boulevard and Bonita Drive be rezoned so a 7,500 square-foot Dollar General store can be built on that location.

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The rezoning request was denied May 9 by the Middletown Planning Commission, but the request still has to be reviewed by city council, which will make the final decision at its Aug. 7 meeting.

In its denial, the Planning Commission agreed that the proposed zone change would be spot zoning and does not meet the intent of the Middletown Development Code nor the city’s Master Plan.

Retail sales and service are prohibited in the property’s current zoning district, which is for residential and professional office uses, City Planner Ashley Combs said.

If the zone change is approved, it would be considered spot zoning as there is no other business district zoning adjacent to the site, according to Combs. Approval could set a possible precedent for future zone change requests in Middletown, she said.

Council approved the city’s new development code in February, which updated Middletown’s zoning code from the 1950s.

The city’s current Master Plan identifies the property as part of the “Midd-Central Development Opportunity Area” and this property is identified as “neighborhood preserve and enhance.”

Combs said she received three comments from nearby property owners who oppose the proposed zoning change because they feared the proposed retail store would diminish the property values of the homes and professional offices there. Residents contend the property should continue to be professional use to complement the other professional offices already located there, according to Combs.

The city’s Economic Development Department is not in favor of the zoning change because it does not meet the intent of the development code nor the master plan and would create spot zoning, Combs said.

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