Rules leave firm stuck in neutral
Jimmy Tennant wants to relocate his light manufacturing business in Peabody. He wants to operate Tennant Wood and Metal out of a building he owns in the 100 block of S. Walnut St.
Those opportunities remain on hold — at least until the city’s planning and zoning commission can figure out a way to approve a conditional use permit for Tennant.
Planning and zoning can’t approve a permit because there is no provision for manufacturing in the city’s business district, chairman Joe Hutchison said at Monday’s city council meeting.
Part of the issue planning and zoning has is that there already is manufacturing taking place there.
“If we need to tweak it a little bit to get somebody down there for light manufacturing, that would be a golden opportunity,” city councilman Travis Wilson said. “The bottom line is you’re right. I don’t want to sit here and tell Jimmy he can’t do it while we have two businesses basically doing the same thing.”
Planning and zoning wants to create new conditional use specifications for the business district that would include light manufacturing.
“If we’re going to have these rules, why aren’t we enforcing them?” Hutchison said. “The simple answer is, nobody has looked at these rules in a long time and realized people are in violation of them.”
Older businesses would be grandfathered in if they predated the requirements for conditional-use permits, Hutchison said.
As good as that is for the city, it doesn’t help Tennant because he is looking for a more immediate answer.
“Where does that leave me?” he said. “I’m starting to get to the point where I’m eating through most of the inventory I have.”
Tennant has had to operate out of a shop at his father-in-law’s but he doesn’t want that to be his long-term location.
Planning and zoning will come up with proposed regulation changes at a special meeting so they can be reviewed at the city council’s next meeting Nov. 30.
Tennant is a member of the planning and zoning commission but that did not factor into the desire to improve regulations, Hutchison said.