Business Owner Submits Site Plan to Knox Planning Commission for Review, Faces Issue with Rear-Yard Setback Requirement

A Knox business owner looking to build a dual-purpose structure will have to complete a few more steps before construction can commence at his Pacific Avenue property.

Owner of Royal Star Builders Tim Miller came before the Planning Commission Tuesday night in order to present his site plan for review. Miller intends to construct a building at 409 Pacific Avenue that will serve as a shop for his construction company and an office for his wife’s bio-medical feedback business.

Miller told members that when checking into utilities, he was informed that a water meter is already on the premises, so he won’t have to take any additional steps to acquire that utility. However, in order to get wastewater utilities, Miller has to have a lift station installed. This will require him to work with a company bore underground to hook up to the nearest manhole on Bozarth Street.

One issue he ran into when going over the site plan with Planning Administrator Kenny Pfost was that his plan doesn’t meet the 40-foot setback requirement for rear yards on commercially zoned buildings.Members suggested shrinking the size of the structure to make up for the difference. However, he said there is no room in his plan to adjust the size of the building.

Miller mentioned that there seems to be about 50 feet of abandoned property behind his plot that he believed could be a city-owned easement. He suggested using that area his rear yard to be in compliance. He said he’d also be interested in placing a driveway in that area, due to safety concerns with the existing exit being so close to the railroad tracks.

Commission members voted to approve Miller’s site plan, under the condition that he would collect more information about the property in the back so he can alleviate the issue with the rear-yard setback requirement.

Since the meeting, Planning Administrator Pfost found out that the area is actually an undeveloped street owned by the city. Pfost said that Miller plans to submit a petition to the city, requesting that they vacate the area.

After coordinating with City Attorney Leslie Baker, Pfost said that a public hearing over the petition will likely be scheduled for the final Knox City Council meeting in April.

Once that land is handed over, Miller will be able to apply for a permit and start construction. He has been engaged in this process since November. Planning Administrator Pfost mentioned that the permitting process on this project has taken longer than usual since the piece of land that Miller purchased was initially in a residential zone and multiple steps had to be taken to switch it over to commercial.