Galax City Council approves zoning requests

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By Shannon Watkins

At its May 12 meeting, Galax City Council voted to approve two zoning requests that had been reviewed and recommended by the planning commission.
The first request was by the Elks Lodge, which asked that its property be rezoned from B-2 (General Business) to R-1 (Single Family Residential), per a proffer on a previous rezoning application.
The property had been rezoned several years ago, when there was a possibility that a retail store was interested in buying it.
The second request was by Jurgen Epple, who asked for a conditional use permit to build two second floor apartments on his property at 117 Grayson St. (above the former Flossie’s restaurant).
The building is zoned B-2, which allows apartments on the first and second floors, but not fronting on the street.
In other zoning news, Ken McFayden, director of the Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Agency, spoke to council regarding the Regional Urban Enterprise Zone Application. He said that putting the application in early increased the chances of it being accepted.
The enterprise zone creates incentives for private developers to improve business properties that are located within it, as a designated zone receives state funding.
Council members decided to look further into the matter.

Also at the meeting, council:
• passed a resolution to allow the Virginia Municipal League/Virginia Association of Counties (VML/VACO) to solicit loans for capital improvement projects in the city.

• set May 27 as the fiscal year 2015 budget’s public hearing date, as that Monday is Memorial Day.

• reviewed information regarding a natural gas franchise request from Appalachian Natural Gas Corporation. City Manager Keith Barker advised that he had asked the city attorney to file a request to appear at the State Corporation Commission meeting, in order to seek additional information from the company.

• reviewed information that Comcast, having acquired Time Warner Cable, will have to reduce its market share. This means that they will divest themselves of the Galax market. SpinCo, owned by New Charter, will be the new provider for Galax.