BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (January 7) — In order to facilitate a rapid recovery from widespread destruction caused by the tornado of December 10, 2021, which destroyed or severely damaged numerous structures in the area, the Dresden Board of Mayor and Alderman approved a resolution waiving site plan requirements for construction projects involving local businesses.
The Board also approved a resolution budgeting funds received from grants, insurance settlements, and donations to help cover the cost of various expenditures involved with tornado recovery
Site Plan Requirement Waiver Approved
The board approved a resolution to waive site plan requirements for construction projects involving businesses damaged by the Dresden tornado of December 10, 2021.
The resolution reads: “Due to the impact of a severe tornadic event, it is deemed necessary to the health, safety, and general welfare of the Town to temporarily suspend one certain component of the zoning ordinance to expedite the rebuilding process.”
The resolution, which is recommended by the Dresden Municipal-Regional Planning Commission, calls for waiving the requirement of site plan submission for properties zoned B-3 (Highway Oriented Business), M-1 (Light Industrial), and M-2 (Heavy Industrial) for properties rebuilding due to tornado damage.
The waiver is allowed, providing the following conditions are met:
- The development constitutes the rebuilding or replacement of a structure damaged during the tornadic event of December 10, 2021.
- The proposed construction will either be located in the footprint of the previous structure or in compliance with minimum building setback regulations.
- Adequate parking is provided. Structures to be located in the footprint of a previous track or to be the same size as a previous structure, must: (a.) utilize the previous parking lot; (b.) provide the same number of parking spaces as a previous parking lot; and (c.) comply with the minimum number of parking places per Section 11. 207 (Off-Street Automobile Storage) of the zoning ordinance (if the required number of parking spaces is less). Structures to be larger than the previous structure proposed must meet the minimum number of parking spaces as specified by section 11. 207.
- The previously used driveway access point or a different driveway access point is being utilized, which meets the requirements of Section 11-209 (Access Control) of the Zoning Ordinance is proposed.
Prior to being brought before the board for its consideration, a public hearing was held prior to Monday night’s meeting to allow for discussion from local citizens.
Rezoning Ordinance Allows Residential Construction
An ordinance amending the City of Dresden’s Municipal Zoning Map to rezone property owned by Richard Pritchett and Hjorfrid Pritchett on the corner of Evergreen Street and Swanson Drive (Tax Map 109, Parcel 14.1) from M-2 (Heavy Industrial) to R-1A (Low Density Residential), received unanimous board approval.
The vacant property is approximately 1.8 acres in size. The lot is surrounded on three sides by property zoned M-2. There is residential property across the street, which is outside the city limits of Dresden.
The land, which is not large enough for industrial use, is proposed to be sold for the intention of constructing a residence on the lot.
A public hearing was held 30 minutes prior to Monday night’s Dresden City Board meeting to give local residents an opportunity to voice any concerns they might have regarding rezoning the property.
The rezoning request came before the board as recommended by the Dresden Municipal-Regional Planning Commission.
Warehousing Reclassified as Neighborhood Business
Tommy Wu requested to rezone his property at 340 Pikeview Street from R-1 (low density residential) to B-1 (neighborhood business). Mr. Wu stated he also owns property located at 350 Pikeview Street, adjacent to the property he is requesting to be rezoned, where a warehouse was damaged by the tornado. The rezoning request was made so the warehouse operation can be expanded to both properties.
The B-1 district is adjacent to this residential area, and use of the property as a warehouse is not a permitted use (or a use on appeal) in B-1 districts. The existing warehouse on the adjacent property is a non-conforming use, meaning it can be repaired, rebuilt or expanded on the same property.
During prior discussion on the subject, the Dresden Municipal-Regional Planning Commission determined, in order to establish a warehouse on the landowner’s property zoned R-1, the city board would need to approve an ordinance allowing warehouse use on appeal from the Board of Zoning Appeals and/or a text amendment approved requested to allow enclosed warehousing in B-1 districts.
With this in mind, the city board voted unanimously to rezone the property at 340 Pikeview from R-1 (low density residential) to B-1 (neighborhood business).
In related board action, the text of the City of Dresden’s Zoning Ordinance for B-1 districts was amended to allow for warehousing of merchandise in fully enclosed structures as a permitted use.
Amending the zoning ordinance allows this and other properties located in B-1 districts (or R-1 districts rezoned as B-1) to be utilized for enclosed warehousing.
Grant And Insurance Funding
A resolution budgeting funds received from grants, insurance settlements for tornado damage to Dresden municipal properties, and acceptance of donations, was unanimously approved by the board. The resolution reallocates these funds for various expenditures involved with tornado recovery.
The General Fund amendments are as follows:
A Tennessee Highway Safety Grant totaling $4,623.65 is earmarked to be spent in the General Fund, with $1,148.75 allocated for regular wages and $3,475 for small items of equipment.
Insurance proceeds for totaled and damaged vehicles, amounting to $108,948.60, are to be expended with $102,150 to be spent for police department vehicles and $6,798 for fire department equipment. An additional $1,014 in insurance proceeds will be utilized for repair and maintenance of police cars damaged while on duty.
Additionally, the resolution budgets $199,000 in advance emergency proceeds. These funds are allocated for tornado recovery involving damage to the City of Dresden’s municipal properties as follows:
- City Hall = $ 154,000
- Police Department = $15,000
- Fire Department = $15,000
- Public Works = $15,000
A private donation of $100 is allocated to go toward the purchase of small items of equipment for the Dresden Police Department.
Expenditures related to tornado damage not covered by grants or insurance include: replacing 10 traffic lights on Highway 22 destroyed by the tornado. In order to purchase these traffic signals, the budget amendment transfers $50,881.20 out of fund balance and placed into the line item for “street light capital”. An additional $35,000 is transferred from fund balance into “public works capital” to replace a street light at the intersection of Hwy 22 and Hwy 89.
Additionally, the resolution authorizes the expenditure of $178,002.50 to purchase a new grapple truck. The money covering the cost of the purchase will come out of fund balance and placed in the “solid waste capital fund”.
However, the above expenditures may qualify for reimbursement through FEMA.
The resolution also authorizes the expenditure of $7,580.37 out of fund balance to install new vinyl flooring in multiple areas of the Harmon and Lucille McWherter Civic Center in Dresden. An additional $1,179 is transferred out of the Civic Center’s reserve fund to pay for a new exterior door and door closer. This is the primary door at the facility, which also serves as the temporary location for Dresden City Hall. These expenditures came out of funds donated by the McWherter family.
Acceptance of Donations
The board approved a resolution authorizing the acceptance of several donations in response to the tornado totaling $23,035.
Donations were received from: Tym Tractor and Grappel Hook from TYM-USA and Tony Lay. Additional donations include the following items: computers, printer, office supplies, snacks, first aid supplies, water, breakroom supplies, educational materials for Dresden police and fire departments from various police departments from across the state, and boots and socks for the Dresden Police Department.
Alderman Lyndal Dilday asked if board members could meet via the internet if they can’t meet in person, due to illness or other factors.
Mayor Wasburn stated it is his understanding that this is not allowed under the Open Meetings Act as outlined in current Tennessee State Law.
At Alderman Dilday’s request, the mayor asked City Attorney Beau Pemberton to research the matter and report back to the board at their next meeting.
Mayor Washburn said plans call for hosting a big Iris Festival this year in Dresden, complete with parade floats, music and numerous other events, on April 30 – May 7, 2022. He stated things may look a little different, with some of the events being held at different locations. This year’s motto is “The Iris Blooms Again.”