Tryon eyes new business district

Published 8:51 am Friday, January 21, 2011

Maps showing the proposed transitional business district (TDB) on the north side (right) and the south side of Tryon’s downtown area.

Public hearing Feb. 15
Tryon is looking at major changes to its commercial zoning districts, including establishing a new transitional business district (TBD) on both sides of downtown.
The town is also proposing to prohibit drive-through and drive-in restaurants and buildings larger than 9,999 square feet in every zoning district. Churches, governmental offices and animal services in the Central Business District (CBD), the downtown area, are also prohibited in the proposal.
Other proposed changes include rezoning the Stott’s Ford block back to CBD after it was rezoned a couple years ago to General Business (GB).
The Tryon Board of Planning and Adjustment presented the recommended zoning ordinance changes to the town council Tuesday, Jan. 18. Council set a public hearing on the proposal for Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Tryon Fire Department. The town could vote on the changes following the public hearing next month.
Following a public input meeting in October, the town council directed the planning board to work on changes to the town’s commercial districts to provide better protection.
The movement to make ordinance changes was spurred in response to concerns regarding the appearance of a new Dollar General on South Trade Street, as well as inquiries the town received from Robert Payne about constructing a car business at the corner of Chestnut and South Trade streets. The board of planning and adjustment has met several times since to provide recommended changes.
On the south side of downtown, the new transitional business district (TBD) will stretch from the railroad tracks to Carolina Drive on one side of Trade Street and to a proposed residential development where Skee’s Automotive used to be on the other side of South Trade.
On the north end of downtown, the new transitional district  will go from Howard Street to just past the intersection of Hwy. 176 and Hwy. 108.
The TBD is intended to provide a buffer between the primarily pedestrian uses in the CBD and the more automobile-oriented uses in the GBD, according to the proposed zoning ordinance. Permitted uses in the TBD are closely related to uses in the CBD, while setbacks and parking requirements are closely aligned with those in the GBD.
Residential uses in the TBD are proposed to include live/work units and second floor apartments. Civic uses in the TBD are proposed to include art centers, libraries and auditoriums, theaters, assembly halls, concert halls or similar places of assembly, governmental office/other governmental use and public utility lines.
Recreational permitted uses in the TBD include indoor movie theaters and parks. Banks, credit unions, savings and loan businesses, newspaper publishing and professional offices are among the office and services uses proposed for the TBD.
Retail uses in the proposal include outdoor markets and farmer’s markets, restaurants and taverns and retail uses less than 10,000 square feet. Accessory buildings and temporary uses will also be allowed in the TBD.
No institutional, manufacturing or industrial uses will be allowed in the TBD as proposed. Automotive/boat service uses will also be prohibited in the TBD as proposed, but are allowed in GBD.
The town is also considering a few minor text amendments, including lowering the commercial excavation and removal of dirt clause to 900 cubic yards from the current 1,200 cubic yards.
If the Stott’s Ford block from Palmer Street to East Howard were rezoned to CBD, the car lot would be non-conforming, but it would be grandfathered, as would all current uses that would become non-conforming.
The Tryon Theatre, for example, is currently used as a church on Sundays, which would be a non-conforming use under the proposal. The church could continue to meet there, but no new churches would be allowed to move into the TBD.
The proposed changes would be valid only for new businesses or when a current business changes uses. Stott’s Ford, for example, could sell the building to another car lot or business that is allowed in the CBD.
Councilman Wim Woody asked if a McDonald’s would be allowed in Tryon if it doesn’t include a drive-through. Planning board chairman John Walters and code enforcer Joey Davis answered “yes.”
Councilman Doug Arbogast questioned why hotels were not included, since the town and others in the area have said the area needs more accommodations. Walters said the planning board will discuss the use of hotels, motels and inns.
The planning board will meet on Feb. 10 prior to council’s public hearing to make some minor changes to the proposal.
Once the first phase of the proposed amendments has been adopted, the planning board plans to begin work on further changes to the town’s zoning ordinance, including amendments to the town’s roadside protection overlay (RPO), landscaping requirements, design standards and signage.

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