Batesville’s mayor and aldermen on Tuesday heard their first ever appeal of a decision by the Planning Commission.
After meeting for about an hour with representatives of Select Management Resources on behalf of Loan Max, aldermen voted 4 to 0 return the matter to the Planning Commission for consideration at their Monday, February 25 meeting. The decision appeared to have been worked out during informal discussions that included Planning Commission chairman Richard Corson, commissioner Judy Savage, and code administrator Pam Comer.
Last year Select Management Resources purchased the Highway 6/278 building that formerly housed Arby’s restaurant to establish a Loan Max location in Batesville. When officials of Loan Max submitted their building and design standards to the Batesville Planning Commission for approval, commissioners did not approve the colors and arrangements planned for the exterior. When they submitted alternate plans, commissioners turned them down again, triggering the appeal to the mayor and aldermen.
Oxford attorney Brad Walsh represented Loan Max at the hearing. He was accompanied by court reporter Michelle Brown and Brent Matthews, Loan Max vice president of development.
“Mr. Matthews has the ability to speak on behalf of the company with any concerns that you guys may have with respect to the design,” Walsh told city officials.
Walsh reviewed the city’s site and design standards and the outcomes of two meetings with the Planning Commission. On October 29, the trim colors — “Loan Max Red and Loan Max Yellow” — were determined to be too bright, according to a summary Walsh provided.
At the following month’s planning commission meeting on Nov. 26, the Loan Max representative “presented alternate colors used in historically sensitive areas,” Walsh’s presentation states, but the alternate was also rejected.
“No specific objections were conveyed to (Loan Max representative) Mr. Mark,” Walsh stated.
“He claims that the commission gave no guidance as to what was wrong with the program,” Planning Commission Chairman Corson replied, following Walsh’s presentation. Corson said at the conclusion of November’s meeting, “I went down the list of things with their representative that had to do with the materials and colors with specific recommendations.”
“The colors initially were a problem,” Corson said, “but the proportionality of it was the biggest problem. Whereas 40 percent of the building basically was red and yellow. This is totally in contrast with the other buildings that have been put up since this ordinance has been in place,” he said, referring to the Site and Building Design Standards that became effective in 2010.
He cited the Piggly Wiggly, Walgreens and Save-A-Lot buildings as example of recently constructed or remodeled buildings that comply with the 2010 standards.