County Planning Commission recommends denial of rezoning request by jewelry store owner

Attorney for developer calls Oakville Study into question

By BURKE WASSON

The county Planning Commission is recommending the denial of plans for a small retail building near Susan Road in Oakville after nearby residents voiced concerns about the extra traffic the businesses would bring.

The Planning Commission’s decision last month was based upon members’ belief that the building plans would violate the Oakville Community Area Study, a 1988 zoning study of the area revised in 1998.

Ray’s Jewelers owner Antonio Rotellini had petitioned the Planning Commission to change zoning at his 0.7-acre lot on the northwest corner of Telegraph and Susan roads from residential to commercial.

His plan was to open a 6,200-square-foot retail building that would house his business and an additional three to four store spaces available for rent.

But owners of homes spanning from Boardwalk Place Drive to Christopher Drive were able to sway the Planning Commission over the increased number of cars that likely would be added to an already-busy Telegraph Road area.

John King, the attorney representing Rotellini, previously said he believes that because heavy traffic on Telegraph Road prevents the land from being part of a residential development, it simply makes sense for it to be zoned commercial.

But the Planning Commission’s analysis of Rotellini’s application said that he “has not assembled properties along Telegraph Road and is instead proposing to rezone a tract of land which is under an acre in size, surrounded on three sides by single-family residences, and with the only means of access via Susan Road, a residential street. Therefore, the commission is of the opinion that commercial zoning is not appropriate at this location.”

The Planning Commission’s final summary and recommendation went on to say that “the proposal is contradictory to the recommendations of the Oakville Community Area Study. Furthermore, the commission finds that the site coverage shown on the Preliminary Site Development Plan is excessive and the site design is not compatible with the surrounding single-family residences.”

Among residents’ main concerns were the extra lighting on the site that would shine onto Boardwalk Place Drive homes just north of the location, the extra traffic causing increased danger for Mehlville School District students being picked up and dropped off at Telegraph Road and Boardwalk Place Drive and the potential of extra runoff that the commercial site would bring.

Joe Redman, Christopher Winds subdivision trustee and president, previously pointed out to the Commission that the Oakville Study was designed to protect the residential character of the area and asked that the Planning Commission not go back on the original recommendations in the study. Redman cited a recommendation from the Oakville Study that states that new commercially zoned properties that might ac-company commercial development should be limited to north of Erb Road. He said Ray’s Jewelers’ proposed site violates that provision because it is south of Erb Road.

Besides mentioning that the business would be the kind of duplication of retail space from which the Oakville Study protects residents, Redman also points out the study’s restrictions on commercial properties less than one acre that border residential property in the area. Ray’s Jewelers’ proposed site is 0.7 acres.

In response to residents’ concerns about Oakville Study violations, King has called the entire study itself into question and said it is an outdated tool that lately has caused more harm than for which it was intended and an overall lack of progress.