Planning Commission to recommend denial of rezoning request


BUCKHANNON All members of Buckhannon’s City Planning Commission met Tuesday evening to discuss the pending request to rezone 67 South Kanawha Street, which would change the lot from R-2 General Residential District A to C-2 Highway Commercial District.

This request was originally brought forth by the owner of the lot, Dr. Burton Abel, of Buckhannon. As The Record Delta previously reported in April, Abel purchased the lot in 2009 with plans to open his own business there, relocating from North Kanawha Street. As Abel’s plans for the property changed, the space has remained vacant since it was purchased.

Abel has since corresponded with BCBank, Inc., based in Barbour County, which currently has an operating branch at Northridge Plaza. Looking to relocate, the bank reportedly took interest in Abel’s South Kanawha Street lot to construct a full-service branch of BCBank on the property. In order to do so, this would require the lot to be rezoned from R-2 Residential designation to C-2 Commercial status.

The City Planning Commission allowed members of the public and residents of the lots surrounding 67 South Kanawha to attend the meeting and voice their opinions on the construction of a new bank in the neighborhood. Multiple members of the community attended to express their concerns of the added noise and light pollution the bank would cause, emphasizing concerns of more traffic in an already busy, congested area.

Residents living near the proposed lot once again explained that this area of Buckhannon is a Historical Zone, and the beauty and peacefulness of the space should be preserved. Concerns were also voiced of how rezoning the lot would negatively affect the property and surrounding lots. The issue of “Spot Zoning” was also brought to the attention of the City Planning Commission, citing that the rezoning of one singular lot is illegal.

Following the discussion and expression of the public’s concerns, the City Planning Commission agreed unanimously to recommend that City Council decline the rezoning request. The Planning Commission’s decision will be brought to Buckhannon’s City Council at their next meeting on Thursday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.

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