By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- Developer Charles Beiling said he will proceed with plans to build about a dozen homes near Beverly Drive, even if the area isn't rezoned.
City council voted against a zoning change Tuesday proposed by the city planning commission. The vote was 5-0 with Councilman Devin Witt absent.
Residents of the Beverly Drive area on the city's east side packed council chambers to voice opposition to the zoning change.
The area in question is between Firestone Cemetery and Whispering Pines Golf Course on the south side of East Park Avenue.
Residents' concerns: Beverly Drive residents said they are worried about Beiling's plans because they don't want multiple-family homes in the area.
They also said they are concerned about drainage problems because many of them already have standing water in their yards much of the time, a problem they said city officials have been unable to remedy in decades.
Some feared Beiling's development would simply shift the flooding problems to another area.
All who spoke said they are strongly opposed to the area being zoned R-2. They said although Beiling said he plans to build only single-family homes, an R-2 designation would allow others to build condominiums, apartments, or other multiple-family dwellings there.
Mayor Lowell Schloneger, a planning commission member, said Beiling did not recommend the zoning change, from R-1, a residential designation that allows only single-family homes, to R-2, that would allow single family or condominium developments.
Developer's plans: Beiling said he plans to build only single-family homes. The building plan includes street curbs and gutters and a drainage system.
He said the R-2 zoning would allow greater flexibility in setback requirements, especially at the front of homes -- the distance between the home and the street.
Most of the homes meet the requirements of R-1 zoning, but without the zoning change he will likely have to return one or more times to the zoning appeals board for variances.
Beiling said he wants to make the neighborhood as aesthetically pleasing as possible, and the R-2 designation would make it easier to line up the homes properly in the lots.