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Columbus planning board wants change 

Board concerned about types of businesses in Columbus 

 

COLUMBUS—The Columbus Planning Board is asking town council to put a provision in the zoning ordinance that would require any new business to come before the before the planning board to explain the project.  

Columbus Town Council met last week and tabled a discussion about the planning board’s suggestion because Mayor Eric McIntyre was absent.  

The Columbus Planning Board met on April 8 and had a discussion about the new development on Mills Street, with four new businesses being constructed, including an O’Reilly Auto Parts, a Bojangles’, an urgent care and a Verizon store.  

“There were some comments made that the planning board was not informed early about what was going to locate on the site,” said Columbus Town Manager Tim Barth. “Also, there were some comments that the businesses that were going to locate there were not the types of businesses that we need in Columbus. The Planning Board wants a provision to be added to the zoning ordinance that would require any new business, locating in a new building, to appear before the planning board to explain the project before they get a zoning compliance form.” 

The discussion at the recent planning board meeting occurred during a discussion about building height districts. The board discussed a property behind the State Credit Union, which was recently purchased by a company out of Wilmington. Barth said he does not yet know what the company is going to do with the property.  

Barth also said he had received two calls from people inquiring about a hotel and currently, because of height restrictions, the only place to put a hotel in Columbus is near the Milliken Hatch Plant. The height restriction there is 50 feet. Height restrictions in the commercial strip between Interstate 26 and downtown Columbus are 29 feet, which is generally too restrictive for a hotel.  

During the discussion, planning board members said they need to find out if residents want more development in Columbus.  

Planning board member Kathleen Nowakowski said she would like to make sure that no big businesses go any further down than Walker Street. She also said the planning board should do something to make sure all the new businesses look similar to each other.  

Barth said he would discuss the issues with the town attorney regarding new commercial establishments being required to appear before the planning board before making application.  

Columbus Town Council will likely discuss the proposed provision in the zoning ordinance at its May meeting, scheduled for Thursday, May 16.