Board denies new homes

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 18, 2009

A handicap-accessible apartment complex will have to wait, as Troy’s Board of Adjustments voted to deny the variance needed to allow a business to operate Thursday.

Chris Heilman and Wendy Bullard asked the board to approve a variance to remodel the building that formerly housed Marie’s Nursery and Preschool, which is located at the corner of Park and Mullis Streets.

City Planner Calvin Lott said that since the property had been vacant for more than a year it has defaulted back to a R-2, medium density residential zoning district, which would require the board to approve a business to fill its location.

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Heilman said the plans were to have five one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment, with some of the apartments being wheelchair accessible.

“Four of the six apartments will be wheelchair accessible,” Heilman said. “The other two aren’t really big enough to make wheelchair accessible.” According to Heilman, they were hoping to get handicapped students from Troy University.

However, he said he hasn’t talked to anyone at the university to see if there is a need for something like this.

Heilman also said they planned to have someone at the office to help the tenants if needed. He also mentioned temporarily housing a business he and Bullard are working to get off the ground, until they get a property to house it.

Still, Heilman said no retail traffic would come to the office, and the property will have enough parking spaces for two handicapped vans.

Board member E.M. Motes Jr. inquired if Heilman had any other properties like this.

Heilman said he did not.

No one attended the meeting to oppose the variance, and Lott said he has not heard of any opposition.

Still, Donald Kelly made a motion to deny the request and Motes seconded it.

Board members Greg Anderson and William Wright were against denying the vote.

Bullard addressed the board to find out what the next steps were.

Lott said the board could decide whether or not they would rehear their plans.

If they chose not to, he said it would become a circuit court matter.

According to Bullard, she said she believes the board misconstrued what Heilman said about having an additional building.

“We are currently working with Earl Ellis to possibly purchase the old Coca-Cola building for our distribution business,” Bullard said. “These are separate entities.”

Board chairman Jack Norton entertained a motion to either deny an additional hearing or accept one, and the board voted to rehear the proposal at a future meeting.

It did so however without the OK of Motes and Kelly.

“If we let you have a business in R-2, we’ll have to let everyone,” Motes said.

“The motion has been made and it has been denied,” Kelly said.