In a split vote, the Centerville City Council this week denied a request for construction of a pizza restaurant on the city's busiest commercial corner, saying it is not an appropriate use of the commercially zoned land.
After the vote, developer Robert Simonsen harshly criticized the council, saying its action will cost the city jobs, tax revenue and a chance to turn a weed patch into a commercial development.His proposal, which received backing from the city's Planning Commission after several months of review and hearings, was to build a retail center on the southeast corner of Main Street and Parrish Lane.
After razing an old house on the corner, Simonsen proposed to build a 4,000-square-foot retail center containing a takeout pizza restaurant with space for complementary units such as a video rental store and ice cream or sandwich shop.
But the property's C-1 commercial zoning only allows a fast-food restaurant under a conditional-use permit, planning adviser Wilf Sommerkorn told the council. The city's Planning Commission recommended the conditional-use permit with several stipulations, including an approved site plan offering adequate parking, a wall between the building and adjacent residential lots, and restricted lighting.
The commission's recommendation was appealed by a nearby homeowner to the council.
The property, along with adjacent land, was rezoned commercial in 1980 to encourage construction of a professional or office building, Sommerkorn said. Two other corners are occupied by banks, and the fourth is a home.
Several nearby residents urged the council to reject the proposal, citing problems with traffic, odors, lighting, and the pizzaria's hours of operation, to 11 p.m. weeknights and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Simonsen told the council the franchise owner has done a demographics study of the area and believes the pizza restaurant would be profitable, despite two competing outlets. There is also no unfulfilled demand for office space or a professional building in Centerville, he said.
An initial move by Councilman Douglas Nielson to table the hearing for further study was defeated when Mayor Dean Argyle cast the tie-breaking vote against it. One councilman, Kent Lindsey, who also serves on the Planning Commission, abstained.
After further - and sometimes heated - discussion, the council voted 3-1 to turn down the conditional-use permit.