Residents push Tryon for moratorium

Published 10:54 pm Friday, December 3, 2010

Some Tryon residents are urging Tryon Town Council to enact a moratorium on commercial development to give the town time to strengthen its ordinances.

But most council members said they were reluctant to enact a moratorium because of the negative connotations associated with a moratorium.

Council held a special meeting Monday to consider a moratorium and decided to call a joint special meeting with the town’s planning and zoning board tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the Tryon Fire Department.

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The special meeting was called because of what was referred to on Monday as the elephant in the room a business owner who has asked the town about building a car business at the corner of Chesnut and South Trade Streets.

No permits for such a business have been turned into town, and no one seemed positive of what the business would be; the only information was that an inquiry had been received regarding a 3,800-square-foot building for cars to be parked inside and an outdoor parking lot for six to seven vehicles, according to Tryons Board of Planning and Zoning Chair John Walters.

Walters said it was his impression that the business restores vehicles and was not necessarily an in and out business.

Most residents attending the meeting said a moratorium on commercial development is needed, some saying enough&bsp; work on ordinances could be done in 60 to 90 days and others saying it would take up to eight months.

Our main street community concept is really in jeopardy, said Mary Prioleau. You can come up with what needs to be done in 60 to 90 days.

Joyce Kimpton told councilmen, its time to move.

Change things and change them for the better, said Kimpton. Id hate to see Tryon change to Inman (SC) or Hendersonville (NC).

John Salmon suggested that&bsp; the town could consider extending its central business district (CBD) down U.S. 176, or South Trade Street. The section from the railroad tracks to the state line is zoned general business district (GBD) and is restricted differently than the CBD. A car business would not be allowed in the CBD, officials said Monday.

I think a break is necessary, said Mark Byington. A moratorium does give you that breathing room. I dont want to be told again, gee, if we had just spoken earlier.

Byington was referring to the many residents who contacted town officials and published letters to the editor following the construction of the Dollar General on the other side of Chestnut Street. At the time, Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples said more people need to be involved and come up with restrictions for development.

Some residents and council members said they dont think a moratorium is necessary. Councilman Austin Chapman was the only elected official who seemed in favor of a moratorium.

Jim Ott said a moratorium was not a good idea. Carl Caudle asked the town why work on ordinances hasnt been done before.

A moratorium also stops a lot of good things, Caudle said.

Councilman Roy Miller said hes against a moratorium because the town could make it so restrictive that other businesses wont come to Tryon.

Were also going after one business and I dont think thats appropriate, Miller said.

Councilman Doug Arbogast said he is also not in favor of a moratorium.

If things do begin to turn around in the world, were slamming the door on them, Arbogast said. We need all the revenue the town can get. I dont think you want to stop people from looking our direction.

Miller also said the town has been moving. A survey is available online for people to give their opinions on commercial development and the town also held a public input session to hear from residents 13 days ago. And within six days of the public input meeting, a special meeting was called.

Councilman Wim Woody was out of town Monday.

Tomorrows meeting will be for council and the planning and zoning board to discuss what path the town wants to take to strengthen its ordinances pertaining to commercial development that will include discussions on a possible moratorium, the possibility of extending the towns CDB zoning and creating and/or creating an overlay district in the GBD. Prior to the meeting, officials and residents were asked to gather other towns ordinances to see what others have done who have accomplished what Tryon wants to do.