Boat Dealer Wants His Property Rezoned, But Sunrise Beach Says Not Without A Plan

SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. — The owner of Heartland Marine says he was misled when he bought a five-acre property on Highway 5, but the city is reluctant to rezone the land without seeing a plan for how it will be used.

The Sunrise Beach Planning and Zoning Commission tabled a rezone request by Jason Todd, owner of Heartland Marine, to rezone his Highway 5 property from Commercial-1 to Commercial-2, at their Monday, Jan. 8 meeting.

The property is located at 16238 Highway 5, in an area considered to be “old town” Sunrise Beach.

“North of the school, to Lake Road 5-35, is considered ‘old town,'” Shrimp Daddy Owner Dean Underwood explained. Underwood’s restaurant is next to the proposed rezone property. “And the PZ committee planned for that area to be light commercial,” he said.

The village received letters of opposition to this rezone request from Sunrise Beach residents and business owners, including Shrimp Daddy’s, Sunrise Cantina, Lake Sunrooms and the American Legion Road Mobile Home Park. The meeting got pretty unruly: a call to order by a gavel was necessary four separate times due to arguments and disruptions.

Multiple citizens and business owners spoke in opposition to the rezone request, due to concerns that Todd was moving his boat dealership to the property. Todd owns Heartland Marine on Route TT, in Sunrise Beach. Underwood contended that the TT property looked like a junk yard. “I don’t want that next to my restaurant,” Underwood said.

“We need to be sure the integrity of the area is maintained,” Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Gerald Jasper agreed.

C-1 zoning allows uses such as restaurants, offices and schools. But if Todd were to obtain a C-2 zoning, he, or anyone that he sold the property to, could use the property for a bar, hotel or large retail operation. According to Sunrise Beach City Planner Roger Corbin, the difference between planning for C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) and C-2 (General Commercial) zoning has to do with traffic use. “C-2 zoning could result in higher traffic use that could be disruptive to the ‘old town’ neighborhood,” Corbin explained.

Todd says when he purchased the property he was told it was zoned Industrial. “Even the person I bought the property from thought it was Industrial,” Todd said.

The businesses on the property before village zoning came into place in 2009 would have required higher than C-1 zoning, but, according to the village master plan, since they have not been operational for more than six months, they cannot be “grandfathered in” and future uses must comply with the current C-1 zoning.

“I am not moving my dealership,” Todd explained. “We sell a high volume of boats… I can’t do that kind of business out of a 5-acre property.” He says his plans are to lease the property out. “If I choose to use the property myself, it might be a small boat showroom or storage,” Todd said. “It is an investment property, and will not be my main dealership.”

But the PZ commissioners and business owners seemed uncomfortable with not knowing what kind of business would be conducted on the property. “We don’t know what his plans are,” Underwood said. “Why would he need C-2 zoning?”

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Dawn Merrill spoke out at the December PZ meeting, stating she was open to helping new businesses come into the village because it is good for everyone. But, at the January PZ meeting she requested income proof and a business plan, before making a decision. “I want to see annual sales and whether or not this will bring tax revenue into the village,” Merrill said.

The board also agreed with Linda Krehbul, a Sunrise Beach resident, who said the empty building on the property was not productive or attractive to other new businesses or residents.

PZ commissioners voted unanimously to table the request pending further information, since they had not received a definitive business plan from Todd.

Todd said he would be happy to present a more detailed plan to the commission, but he said he will not know who he will lease the property to, until it is leased.

The next meeting of the Sunrise Beach Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 5 at the Sunrise Beach City Hall.

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