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Forest Acres denies rezoning request

Staff Report //March 15, 2018//

Forest Acres denies rezoning request

Staff Report //March 15, 2018//

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Forest Acres City Council denied a rezoning request for property at the corner of Forest Drive and Brentwood Drive at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Cason Development Group had submitted plans for mixed-used redevelopment of existing properties at 1450-1514 Brentwood Drive that included three commercial buildings totaling 14,000-15,000 square feet and 13 townhomes.

“We were obviously very disappointed in the decision that was made, but we’re moving on,” owner Frank Cason said Thursday. “Forest Acres made the decision they felt was right for the community.”

The property is under contract, Cason said, and “the owner and I are discussing what the next steps are to move on from the project.”

Forest Acres Mayor Frank Brunson said concerns about the impact of increased commercialization on area residential neighborhoods led him to oppose the project. 

Brunson said the town nixed previous projects at Winthrop Avenue and Idalia Drive because of similar concerns.

“We're trying to protect the integrity of the neighborhoods,” Brunson said. “We still want the corner cleaned up, and we will entertain all projects going forward.”

Redevelopment plans would have rezoned the properties as a second parcel of an existing Planned Development District that includes MUV Fitness and South State Bank.

On Jan. 23, the Forest Acres Planning Commission approved the plans by a 6-0 vote and sent them on to City Council. According to minutes from the January meeting, Cason outlined plans to revitalize what one member of the public called an “eyesore” that currently includes four dilapidated apartment buildings.

Speakers in favor of the project noted the need to improve the area, while some opposed worried about increased traffic and pedestrian safety.

“Staff believes that this is a suitable use for the property and has not identified any red flags, planning and zoning-wise,” the minutes from that meeting said.

Neither present nor future owners of the property may apply for rezoning for 12 months.