David Thompson seeks a Special Use Permit to open ‘Vape Stop’ in a strip mall on E. US 24 Highway. The City Code was amended in March, 2014 placing several restrictions on convenience stores (w/o gasoline sales) and tobacco stores. The definition of a tobacco store includes ‘electronic and vapor cigarettes’. Incorporated within the Code are siting restrictions and the maximum number of such businesses allowed (14) in the city. Recently two stores closed allowing the applicant to apply for this Special Use Permit. Vape Stop plans to sell products such as e-cigarettes, batteries, chargers, tanks, e-liquid, and related items.
Called ‘Pioneer Complex’ when constructed in 2007, this site consists of two nearly identical multi-tenant buildings, each containing an assortment of commercial uses. Mr. Thompson plans to utilize Suite C, an 882 sq. ft. lease space in the eastern building (17000) for his shop. Eventually, the company will have a staff of up to five employees, including family members. As this is a recently constructed building, it meets the City Code requirements for parking, landscaping and so forth.
Adjacent Land Uses: This segment of E. U.S. 24 Highway had long been zoned either C-1 of C-2 along its frontage. Typical uses include fast food restaurants, auto sales/repairs, office uses, and small retail businesses.
Historic Buildings/Archaeological Sites: There are no known historic or archaeological concerns associated with the site.
Special Use Permit Standards: The following analysis is based on the review criteria in Section 14-704-09 of the Unified Development Ordinance.
A. The character of the neighborhood – This segment of E. U.S. 24 Highway includes an assortment of restaurants, auto sales and repair, office uses, small retail businesses, even some residential uses; north of this site is property owned by the Winterstone golf course.
B. The extent to which the proposed use is compatible with the adjacent zoning and uses – This Special Use Permit would allow the additional use of the site for a tobacco/vapor shop, the underlying zoning remains C-2, the same as many other properties along E. U.S. 24 Highway.
C. The impact of the proposed use on public facilities – As this is an established commercial site; all public facilities are in place and operational.
D. The suitability of the property for the uses to which it has been restricted under the applicable zoning district regulations – This Special Use Permit will allow only one additional land use not already permitted by right by the C-2 classification.
E. The extent to which the proposed use may injure or detrimentally affect the uses or enjoyment of property in the area – Based upon the site’s zoning and use as a commercial property, it is not expected to affect any of these issues.
F. The extent to which the proposed use will create excessive stormwater runoff, air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution or other environmental harm – As this is an existing commercial property with no site improvements planned, these items are not an issue.
G. The extent to which there is a need for the use in the community –According to the applicant, this area of the city lacks this type of business and the merchandise it will provide.
H. The ability of the applicant to satisfy any requirements applicable to the specific use imposed pursuant to this Article – If approved with a Special Use Permit, the application appears to satisfy the requirements Section 14-419 of the Unified Development Ordinance.
I. The extent to which public facilities and services are available and adequate to meet the demand for facilities and services generated by the proposed use – This is an existing commercial building with all public facilities in place.
J. The conformance of the proposed use to the Comprehensive Plan and other adopted plans and policies – The Comprehensive Plan envisions Commercial uses for the segment of E. U.S. 24 Highway with Low/Medium Density Use behind. There are no special plans or policies for this site.
K. The extent to which the use will promote and encourage sustainability or revitalization of a given area – It is not known if a tobacco/vapor shop will have positive impacts on the area.
Planning Commission Action - At its August 22, 2017 meeting, the Planning Commission voted 5-2 to recommend approval of this application after considering the following facts:
1. That the Special Use Permit is consistent with the review criterion listed in Section 14-704-09 of the Unified Development Ordinance.
2. That the proposed business will locate in an existing strip center that is mostly vacant.
3. That a public hearing was held pursuant to a notice duly published according to law, at which time all interested parties were given the full opportunity to be heard.
4. That, at the Planning Commission hearing, no one spoke in opposition to the application.
5. That no petitions protesting the application were presented at the Planning Commission meeting.
6. That this tobacco store will be the 14th such business in the city and there can be no more 14 Special Use Permits for this use.
Draft Planning Commission minutes are attached to this Council agenda item.