Financiers hope to help with rezoning

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Two financial institutions in Elizabethton are expected to request property rezoning from the city's Regional Planning Commission on Tuesday.
   Citizens Bank of Elizabethton will seek rezoning of property located on East C Street from a residential to an arterial business zone. The 150 x 115 tract lies directly behind the bank's Broad Street location between East C and Elm streets.
   Citizens Bank president Joe LaPorte said there is no current plan to expand the Broad Street location. He added that given the property's proximity to arterial business strip, the request was determined a wise move in case expansion was considered in the future.
   "We don't have any plans for expansion at this time, but since everything in this block is business, we thought it would appropriate to have it rezoned," said LaPorte. "We probably should have done this a few years ago when we acquired the property." The bank acquired the property requested for rezoning approximately four years ago.
   Happy Valley Credit Union will try for a second time to have property on East C Street rezoned from residential to arterial business. The Planning Commission denied the Credit Union's rezoning request in October after a two residents living in close proximity to the property objected to the development. The credit union sought to purchase the property for expansion of parking space and ATM services.
   Christina Bartz said the Credit Union had purchased the property from former owner Martin Meredith in December. She said the commission's decision had been appealed, but no other modifications to the original request had been made.
   Homeowners on East C Street have long been bordered by the city's commercial and industrial quarters. The street lies one block over from Broad Street's commercial developments and two blocks from East Elk Avenue's commercial developments.
   City director of Planning and Development, David Ornduff, and state planning officer representative Michael Hughes had warned planners at that time against "spot-zoning" one tract of property when the Credit Union's proposal was initially considered.
   The property in question is located near several residences. However, tracts already zoned for business use on C Street and Broad Street surround those residences. Hughes had advised the best option planners could take would be rezoning several property tracts west of C Street to include the 215 East C Street land.