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October 31, 2013

Clarksville blocks storage of materials for bridges project

Milestone has until Dec. 1 to remove construction materials from Colgate property

CLARKSVILLE — In some cases, it’s better to apologize than to ask permission. But not when it comes to zoning variances in Clarksville.

The Clarksville Board of Zoning Appeals decided Oct. 23 to deny a request for a variance filed by Milestone, a subcontractor of Walsh Construction, to store construction materials for the Ohio River Bridges Project at the Colgate property in southern Clarksville.

In an Oct. 24 letter, Clarksville Planning Director Sharon Wilson informed Milestone that a zoning variance requested by Milestone and Boston Development Group, which owns the Colgate property, had been denied because the storage of construction materials for off-site projects was not compatible with the intended purpose of the Clark’s Landing Mixed Use zone district.

“The viability of North Clark’s Landing as an area of horizontal and vertical mixed uses is impaired for the term of the storage,” Wilson wrote.

The town has had a master plan for Clark’s Landing North, which encompasses the Colgate property, since March 2012. Wilson says the master plan, which was developed by Kovert Hawkins Architects, was in the latter phases of development when the Boston Development Group purchased the property in December 2011.

“To further the redevelopment possibilities, the town invested redevelopment funds to underwrite the completion of a master plan for the property,” Wilson wrote in her letter to Milestone. “The plan was recommended for approval by the Plan Commission and adopted by the Town Council. This purpose does not comply with the adopted plan.”

The request for the zoning variance was submitted Sept. 11, Wilson said, though the requesting document is not dated. Wilson said the variance was requested after materials had already been stored there. While variances are granted in cases of hardship, this was not such a case, she said.

“Just because you buy a piece of property, or you do something and then apply after the fact, that doesn’t count as a hardship case,” she said. “You can’t create the situation that you’re wanting the use variance for. In this place, they did create the situation, because they put the materials there without a permit.”

Milestone had initially been given until Nov. 5 to find a new site to store the construction materials, but the subcontractor submitted a letter requesting an extension until Dec. 1. After polling the town council’s members, Wilson granted the request, she said.

“This is nothing that’s adverse to Milestone in any way or the [Ohio River Bridges] Project,” Wilson said.

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