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Cookeville Planning Tables Bob’s Body Shop Rezoning

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Planning Tables Bob’s Body Shop Rezoning

Cookeville Planning Commission tabled an attempt Monday night to address an eyesore on one of Cookeville’s major entranceways.

Billy Grogan, owner of Bob’s Body Shop on Highway 70, said he wants to improve the current zoning so he can build a structure for a customizable automotive paint business. Grogan said he already has removed some 2,700 cars since inheriting the property in July.

“It will not be salvage, we are totally out of that business,” Grogan said. “And most of you who have been by there have noticed we are cleaning. I’m doing a major clean-up, and I’m not done. I’m going to clean both sides of the street up.”

But residents were concerned about the potential for pollution that could come from such a business. Resident Andrew Anderson listed potential toxic chemicals that could come from this type of work, including benzene and methyl ethyl ketones. He said that some 85 members in the McClellan Avenue area behind the property all signed a petition expressing their opposition.

“All types of pollution have their makeup of negative impacts on our environment,” Anderson said. “The lives of humans and animals get impacted due to this. It is our responsibility to take many initiatives to protect nature.”

Grogan said that he understands the concerns of the residents. However, he said that he has been fully in compliance with required EPA standards and that he has the evidence to back it up including water samples and EPA-approved equipment.

In addition to pollution concerns, other residents voiced their distaste for the amount of discarded car parts they find on their property. Resident Trent Strode said that his neighbor purchased a piece of property to prevent the salvage yard from exceeding its property limits.

Planning Director Jon Ward said that the planning department recommends rezoning to ensure the structure would meet all the standards of the zone. He said that the current property had been grandfathered in, and operates as a legal nonconforming use of the land.

“That was our analysis was trying to bring something in conformance with the zoning code,” Ward said. “Controlled access, surface parking, architectural design standards. This is a protected use under state law. And someone else can come in and do auto body and salvage there, to no standard whatsoever. And the Planning Department’s opinion, the city would not have any standing to stop that because it is being utilized for those purposes right now.”

Commissioner Eric Walker said that he had concerns about what the protocol would be if they approved the rezoning and it went to the Board of Zoning Appeals. He said that he wanted to know more about the Codes Department’s interpretation for this kind of business in this kind of zoning.

The commission will consider the item for action at next month’s meeting.


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