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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Mayor signs off on controversial West Jefferson plaza

City Council's controversial approval of Peter Franklin Jeweler's plaza on West Jefferson Boulevard will stand after Mayor Tom Henry signed the ordinance Friday. (Courtesy photo)
City Council's controversial approval of Peter Franklin Jeweler's plaza on West Jefferson Boulevard will stand after Mayor Tom Henry signed the ordinance Friday. (Courtesy photo)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Saturday, May 20, 2017 12:01 am

A controversial plaza on West Jefferson Boulevard got the green light Friday when Mayor Tom Henry declined to veto City Council's recent decision to rezone 6.5 acres for commercial use.

Council voted 5-3 on May 9 to approve the project by Peter Franklin Jewelers despite fierce opposition from nearby residents and the Plan Commission's previous unanimous decision to deny the rezoning. Michael Barranda, R-at large, abstained because his law firm was representing some of the opponents, and that could have been crucial had Henry not signed the ordinance because six votes are needed to overturn a veto.

Opponents argued the project would create traffic, noise, drainage problems and bring even more commercial activity to Jefferson. The majority of council, however, concluded Jefferson — traveled by 33,000 vehicles every day — is already largely commercial and no longer ideal for residential development. The quality of the Franklin design, they said, would ensure future projects are at least as attractive if not more so.

Peter Franklin agreed to exclude most drive-through lanes and numerous categories of tenants that would otherwise be allowed under the zoning category in order to minimize impact on the surrounding area. The three-building, 38,000-square-foot project will be located in the 4900-5000 blocks of Jefferson.

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