Residents oppose rezoning request

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 13, 1999

When Robert Lehmann bought his property on Lower Woodville Road, it wasn’t even in the city limits.

Over the years he and his wife, Elaine, have seen the city and their neighborhood grow, bringing more people and more traffic.

And he’s now worried that a request to rezone a land parcel from open land to neighborhood business district will only add to the traffic.

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Property owners Trace Publishing Co. and Pollard, Pollard and Rayborn have asked that the parcels at 221 and 224 Lower Woodville Road be rezoned to make way for office space. According to records at the city planner’s office, Allgood Business Machines plans to buy the property for its office.

Uses permitted in open land district include single-family dwellings and farming, as well as temporary structures such as carnivals and church revivals.

The neighborhood business district, or B-1, designation currently allows a variety of uses, including office space.

A proposed amendment to the B-1 district ordinance would limit the current number of uses, but office space would still be included as a use by right. The city planning commission has recommended approval of the amendment to the board of aldermen, which is likely to vote on the amendment at its 11 a.m. meeting today.

But the planning commission has tabled the rezoning request by the owners of the Lower Woodville Road property. The commission meets again at 5 p.m. Thursday at city council chambers on South Pearl Street.

Lehmann, who lives at 222 Lower Woodville Road, believes changing the zoning designation would only increase traffic. He also said the property is not as large as it appears because the land slopes to a bayou at the back of the property.

But City Planner David Preziosi said the planning commission considers the size of the entire property, not the size of the developable property.

In the future, the area in question could be rezoned from open land to neighborhood business, because the board of aldermen has approved a land use plan that would make the area to the west of Lower Woodville Road near its intersection with Highland Boulevard commercial office space. But Preziosi said the land use plan is part of the city’s 20-year comprehensive plan, a proposed outline for city growth.