This map shows the different areas included in proposed zoning changes to the Downtown HUB district.
The owner of a local auto repair business is concerned about proposed zoning changes to the Downtown HUB district.
Isaac Wall isn’t sure what will happen to his downtown auto service business and has questions regarding the HUB zoning proposals. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
A public open house was held at city hall Thursday to outline the HUB Vision for Brandon’s downtown core. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Isaac Wall has been operating Isaac’s Auto Service for nearly 30 years. For the last 15 years it has been located at 136 12th St., which is located within the HUB.
"I’m very leery," Wall said Thursday at the HUB Zoning Division open house, held at city hall.
In the proposed plan, automotive repair shops will not be permitted in the district, along with warehouses, storage facilities, animal boarding and recycling facilities. Existing businesses will not be affected, as they are considered legally non-conforming.
Wall, 64, said he has been planning to sell the business and retire in the next few years, but is now worried about what the changes might do to the value of his shop.
"I want to try and start winding down a bit," he said. "I work 12 to 15 hours a day for damn near 30 years to build up something and these guys are gonna stroke a pen and take it all away from me?"
However the city’s acting senior planner, Ryan Nickel, said that is not the case.
If Wall sells his business, Nickel said the new owner can continue running an auto repair shop.
"As long as they’re not increasing the intensity of the use on the site or doing any expansions," Nickel said.
"If it’s under a different name, that doesn’t matter to us."
If the building remains vacant for more than a year, it would lose the legally non-conforming status and would have to comply with the new zoning.
Wall is worried that potential buyers might shy away from the business, if the plan goes through.
"If somebody bought my business and did really well, and wanted to expand or tear it down and put up a nice new building, they can’t do that," Wall said.
"I think there would be buyers that would be hesitant in buying my business, just on those issues alone. I might be able to sell it, but am I going to get what it’s worth?"
The City of Brandon planning department, along with Renaissance Brandon, hosted the open house to encourage public feedback on the proposed changes.
The plan includes establishing three new Hub Zones: entertainment and shopping, mixed use and transitional, along with the existing parks and recreation zone to fit in with the HUB Secondary Plan.
The secondary plan serves as a key framework for future development in the downtown’s core.
Currently, downtown consists mainly of commercial central core zoning and commercial general zoning.
"The zoning is really the last critical piece in putting this framework together for guiding the future development of downtown," said Braden Pilling, Renaissance Brandon’s downtown development specialist.
"You’re trying to build an area with cafes and pubs and retail shops and those kind of things, but anything can move in, then … it defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to accomplish, so that’s why this zoning portion is really critical to the whole process."
The vision of the Downtown HUB is to "flourish and grow into a vibrant and dynamic place, the preferred destination in the region, by offering a wide range of unique and diverse experiences and stimulating economic opportunities."
The planning department may still make some revisions to the plan before presenting it to city council.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 24, 2012