Parkersburg planning commission approves rezoning request

Photo by Evan Bevins Cinda Fleming, right, explains her request for property at 1208 Blizzard Drive, where her family plans to open a business, to be rezoned from residential to commercial during Friday’s Parkersburg Municipal Planning Commission meeting as, from left, commission Vice President Eric Gumm, President Charlie Matthews, City Planner Michael Rosso and Assistant City Attorney Rob Tebay listen.

PARKERSBURG — The city’s Municipal Planning Commission on Friday approved a request to rezone a parcel that has long been used for commercial ventures but remains classified as residential.

The application to rezone 1208 Blizzard Drive, Parkersburg, was made by Dave and Cinda Fleming, of Vienna, who purchased the property with the understanding it was zoned as commercial. But after the sale, they discovered the longtime car lot had reverted to a residential designation a year after J.D. Byrider left the location.

“It certainly looked like a commercial property,” Cinda Fleming said during a special meeting of the commission in City Council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building. “We assumed too many things. We should have done more research.”

The Flemings are looking to start a van rental business and possibly rent out some of the other office space at the site.

Sherry West, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, said she listed the property for the seller and spoke in favor of the rezoning.

“They (the sellers) believed the zoning to be commercial. They did not understand that they were operating under a variance,” West said. “That has operated as a car lot since I was in high school.”

According to documents provided during the meeting, the property was being used as an automotive sales business when the city zoning code was enacted and was therefore grandfathered, even though it was designated as residential at the time. Parkersburg Development Director Rickie Yeager said it appeared to be an oversight that the parcel was not zoned as commercial, like many of the other properties around it.

City Planner Michael Rosso recommended approving the rezoning, and no city departments objected to the proposal.

The item was considered in a special session so it could make it on to the June 25 City Council agenda, where it will appear as an ordinance on first reading, Yeager said.

Friday’s meeting started 20 minutes late as the commission waited for an eighth member to arrive, giving them a quorum to conduct business.