MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday gave its approval for new apartments to be built on the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and South McKenzie Street.
The board approved a conditional use permit for Mark Lybarger that will enable him to build the new higher-end ranch style apartments. The proposed property is zoned General Business, but the conditional use will allow for Multi-family Residential structures to be built.
Lybarger is proposing two bedroom apartments with two residences in two buildings and another building with three apartments. The proposal met all setback requirements, it just needed BZA’s approval for the conditional use permit.
“For some time, the city has needed more better apartments for people,” Lybarger said. “There’s not enough, especially for people who want a nicer place.”
Shane Fillhart, a resident of Kirk Street just around the corner from the proposed site, was on hand to voice his concern with more apartments being built in the neighborhood.
He said he had to build a six-foot privacy fence to keep neighbors from walking through his yard, but there are still plenty of instances of residents throwing trash on his lawn and excessive noise in the area.
“If you add more residents living there, it will not improve anything for the current homeowners,” Fillhart said.
The permit comes after a decision by Mount Vernon City Council Sept. 23 to amend the current codified ordinances to allow for such a conditional use in a business district. Lacie Blankenhorn, Mount Vernon Development services manager, said she has had to turn away permit requests because they were not in the ordinance.
The BZA also heard a variance request for signage for Gordman’s.
Linda Nichols of LAAD Sign and Lighting was on hand, representing her company, Gordmans and Regency Commercial Associates (the property owner). She said that in the mad rush to change the business from Peebles to Gordmans, a 114-foot sign was designed and placed over the store. That sign met code requirements for the city, but after several months, Gordmans was requesting to replace the original sign with one much bigger and would be more visible.
The requested sign would total 189.4 square feet, well above the maximum size allowed for their store front, which was 141.75 square feet.
“We are a fairly flexible board, but you’re asking for 33.6 percent more than the code allows. That’s very tough for us to approve that much of a sign increase,” said BZA member Don Carr.
BZA then denied the requested variance by a vote of 4-1.
In a final matter, BZA heard a request from AMG to allow a parking lot to be constructed in the front yard area of their property.
Doug Spangler from AMG said with 118 employees and the future loss of parking space in March, the company needed to expand its parking lot. Their only option was on the north side and the variance was needed to allow that. He said by building on the north side, it would give them 92 spaces, which would be enough to handle all the spots needed between shift changes.
AMG employee Linda Rains and Jeff Gottke of Area Development Foundation also expressed their support of the parking lot variance.
“I’ve worked with both the old and the new owners of AMG, and the new ones went through a lot to keep their factory in Mount Vernon. I’m asking on behalf of the people who work at AMG to approve the lot,” Rains said.
BZA approved the request as submitted by a 5-0 vote.