City reviews industrial park

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— Though industrial parks are not often thought of as particularly beautiful, one such park being proposed next to the airport will have to be easy on the eyes for the City Council to approve it.

On Tuesday the City Council reviewed a pre-application for a 48-lot industrial business park next to the airport off County Road 129. No vote was required.

The council implied Tuesday that it wants to see an architectural plan that could mitigate the effects of a large clustering of industrial buildings when the application comes back for final approval.

One glaring area the council wants the applicant to work on is a group of buildings whose backs will be seen from the county road. Council members had different opinions as to how the view of those buildings could be improved.

Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner said she thought the buildings could be turned around to present their fronts to the road. Councilwoman Nancy Kramer, on the other hand, said she thought the backs themselves could be made to look attractive, rather than making people look at parked cars in front of the buildings.

One adjacent property owner also worried aloud about how the business park would affect her view. Because the city's development code zones part of the property for residences, it would need a rezone to industrial to go forward.

Linda Geneau said she was confident when she and her husband bought a house on a hill across the road from the airport that she was buying property zoned residential that would have other residences around it.

She said her view will now be interrupted by a group of squat industrial buildings and storage units.

"It's my understanding that that's why you have zoning so that property owners can rely on it," she said. "We never would have bought the land if we had foreseen storage units there.

"No amount of landscaping is going to help this situation."

Council President Pro Tem Paul Strong said he thinks the industrial classification may be the correct one for this parcel, though it might not jibe with the wider open spaces across the street where the land is primarily in the county.

"I think that industrial is a land use that we might not have enough of in the city," Strong said.

The owner of the land, Walter Scott, wants to develop an industrial business park just northeast of the terminal and runway on two parcels of land. Building on the success of the nearby Copper Ridge Business Park, Scott said he wants to allow business owners to own space for their companies near town and U.S. 40 to help the local economy.

The land is just a few hundred feet from the runway at points it is closer than the terminal itself so it will be influenced by restrictions on what can be built there.

Federal regulations prohibit any structures within 500 feet of the runway's sides, blocking some of the developer's building potential.

Airport Manager Matt Grow has expressed interest in purchasing part of the area being developed with a grant, but has not yet had luck convincing the owner to sell.

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