Meridian Star


June 10, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

MERIDIAN — No freeze on

commercial permits

    A local group of private investors are in negotiations to place a Dollar General at the old car wash near Point Rexall on Twenty Fourth Avenue and Twenty Second Street.

    This is a location that is not inside either the Poplar Springs Historic District of the Mid-Town Historic District. It has been zoned for commercial property, and has been taxed as commercial property, for more than thirty years. The car wash sign is still there from when it was in business, along with a commercial for sale sign.

    The investors originally wanted to place the Dollar General in the Mid-Town Historic Business District, alongside the more than seventy five other businesses in that area.

    The Mid-Town site would have required rezoning, and the Dollar General store would have been a brick building with a historic facade. This plan was approved unanimously by the City Planning Commission.

    Due to misinformation, and a small petition headed up by Councilman Bobby Smith, the rezoning action was denied by a unanimous vote of the city council.

    The investors then looked for other sites that would still serve the same business and residential area. They found a commercial location at Twenty Fourth Avenue and Twenty Second Street that fits their plan.

    On this week’s City Council agenda, there was an order approved by a three to two vote to freeze all commercial building permits in a designated area of the city that includes the site for the Dollar General.

    I vetoed that order.

    The order—which was approved over the opposition of the city attorney—would restrict the use of more than one hundred blocks of private property.

    It would create basically the same thing as inverse condemnation, which in government means, “We are going to restrict you from using your private property without paying anything for it.”

    If enacted, the City of Meridian would issue no building permits for that area for an indefinite period of time.

    It is wrong for government to step in and prevent the lawful use of land—whether it is one hundred blocks or one block.

    The investors and property owner have followed the law. Every step of the way of this project, they have done what would be required of any citizen.

    When the current owner’s family bought the property over thirty years ago, it already served as a car wash and service station.

    It would be wrong for government to arbitrarily stop this project.

    Remember, what we support for government to do others can one day be turned back on us.

    While I am mayor, I will do everything I can to provide a government of fair treatment across the board, of no special favors, and equality under the law.

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