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Triple S to consider landscape rule changes

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By Walt Reichert

At its Dec. 18 meeting, Triple S Planning and Zoning Commission will discuss, and possibly vote on, an amendment that would change landscape and buffer requirements adopted two years ago.

The amendment under consideration would reduce the number of plantings a builder or developer would have to put in at the edges of property lines, said Triple S Executive Director Ryan Libke.

Under the existing rules, for example, a commercial site with 200 feet of road frontage would have to put in 15-16 trees. The amendment would drop the requirement to four trees. The amendment would also make changes to requirements for plantings along buffer zones between various types of development.

The proposed changes came after complaints from some builders and developers, as well as the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation, who said the current rules are unrealistic, too expensive and discourage businesses from moving to Shelby County. Triple S held a public hearing on changes to the landscape rules Nov. 20 and allowed written comment until Dec. 4.

In written comments, Wayne Anderson, with Shelby Energy Cooperative, said current rules make it difficult to access or install public utilities along rights-of-way. But the Shelbyville Historic District Commission, and Sara John, with the state Division of Forestry, supported keeping current landscape requirements.

"My concern is that we may be sacrificing the beauty and contentment of our community for a few dollars saved by big developers," John wrote.

Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation Vice President Marshall Long asked for a second public hearing on the issue in a letter to the commission. Libke said he did not know if the commission will grant another hearing or go ahead and vote on the amendment next week.

"We had a workshop and public hearing on the issue, which we are required by law to do," Libke said. "We allowed public comment on the issue until Dec. 4. They {industrial and development foundation} have not told us anything specific they didn't like."

Interchange rules

Also on Tuesday, the commission will also take under advisement a request from the city of Simpsonville to look at more specific rules on what types of development are permitted at interchanges.

Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden sent the request to Triple S following a vote on annexing 42 acres at the I-64 interchange at Buckcreek Road. Many residents south of the interstate said they did not want Simpsonville annexing land south of the interstate because they feared the city commission would allow development that would devalue their homes.

After the annexations was approved, Eden said he would seek to get stricter rules on what could go near the interchange.

Libke said the county's zoning regulations are vague about what can and cannot be developed at the interchange. He said other cities and states have more specific rules on interchange development.

"There's a lot of room for interpretation in what we have," Libke said. "I have no problem with moving forward on that."

Also on the Triple S agenda Dec. 18 will be:

An agricultural division of the Gravett farm on Antioch Road.

An agricultural division of High View Estates at 2728 Christianburg Road.

An agricultural division of the Snider farm in the 700 to 800 block of Southville Pike.

Next meeting

Triple S Planning and Zoning will meet Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stratton Center.