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Cafeteria turned apartments construction to begin in early 2019

MOUNT JACKSON — Renovations on the old Triplett High School cafeteria to turn it into a small apartment complex will start early next year.

The Mount Jackson Town Council approved the special use permit application submitted by Todd Holtzman on Tuesday evening. The permit squeaked by with Dennis Andrick and Donald Pifer abstaining and Bonnie Good voting no. Good attempted to add two amendments to the council’s approval but didn’t receive any support.

Good said the council should support the permit but argued the application was incomplete as Holtzman hasn’t provided a site plan and traffic analysis to the council. Good recognized Holtzman has some of those materials or is working on completing them, but contended his application is incomplete until council sees them.

The second amendment was related to restricting work hours on the apartment to 7 a.m. and after.

“The official ordinances tell us we are supposed to have some information that was never given to us or the Planning Commission,” Good said. “If we let this go by without even considering it, we are not abiding by our own ordinances.”

Town Manager Kevin Fauber said he had talked with Holtzman about the site plan and was willing to work with him to ensure the plan follows all of the town’s ordinances.

Mayor J.G. “Bucky” Miller asked council members if their problem with the amendment was the noise restriction. Miller only votes if there is a tie but said he had a hard time supporting the restriction.

“I understand where you are coming from, with the main part of your amendment,” Miller said. “But the noise part. If I was sitting on this council, I would have a hard time with that being attached to it.”

Good said neighbors at previous meetings expressed concern about the early morning noise. At the meeting, Good mentioned Holtzman said restricting operating hours for construction crews would only make the process longer.

On Tuesday evening, Holtzman told council members he didn’t think it would be fair to restrict his workers when other construction sites don’t have similar requirements.

“From someone who represents other businesses in town, we open the door to work restrictions then why should any other business be able to start at 5 a.m.?” Holtzman said. “We have noise ordinances already, and if we are making a disturbance for residents, they have the ability to complain to the Police Department…but it’s not going to be an issue on our job site.”

Roger Rudy, who seconded the motion to approve the application, said the concern about noise was short-sighted.

“It’s not going to last forever,” Rudy said, referring to the noise construction projects bring. “You cannot have progress without noise.”

Rudy told council members he lives above another site where Holtzman is involved in a construction project. He said he hears drilling and hammering but also sees men being put to work.

“They obviously are very proud of the work they do,” he said. “I see improvements to the town. I see improvement that has the potential of increasing my own property value.”

The apartment complex will have four apartments, roughly 1,000 square feet each. Other renovations in the area include a brewpub, also commissioned by Holtzman.

All council members were present at Tuesday’s meeting. The application vote passed 3-1 with two abstentions. Miller said he would have voted to approve the application if the two abstaining members constituted a tie for the vote.

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