The Marietta Planning Commission recommended the former site of Red River Valley REA be rezoned from commercial to industrial during a Tuesday afternoon meeting. This comes after an independent study by the urban planning firm ADG that also recommended the change. While the recommendation does not make the zoning change final, many of the building’s neighbors are concerned about the type of business that will be moving in if the city council makes the decision to rezone.
KorDale Lornes, assistant director of marketing with Red River Valley REA, said the company moved out of the building around Thanksgiving and the prospective buyer, Zena
Industries, has asked the property be rezoned as a condition of their purchase. Lorne said they had two serious offers on the building, and both were contingent on a zoning change.
Marietta City Manager Dustin Scott said people are concerned because there is no specific plan in place as to the type of business that would potentially move into the spot.
“There are a lot of different uses that could come into play if the property gets rezoned,” Scott said. He said these could be industries such as heavy automotive, industrial distribution or industrial processing. He added industrial zoning would also permit the growing or cultivation of medical marijuana.
Laci Jo Littleton, the realtor who is working with Zena Properties, said she thinks those who are against the zone change are worried that the property could be used for medical marijuana. However, she said this is not the plan.
“I have zero knowledge that Zena Properties is planning on doing anything with medical marijuana,” Littleton said. “They are not a medical marijuana grower or producer. They are a commercial investment company.”
Littleton said their plan is to divide the property into multiple addresses and then rent those out to separate tenants. She said the owner also wants to rent the location to businesses that will be a good fit in the community.
“They are simply requesting the rezoning of the building so they can rent it out to the right people,” Littleton said. “The owner has said that he will do due diligence to rent it out to businesses that will make the neighbors happy.”
Littleton said Zena Properties has also agreed to build an eight-foot tall privacy fence and plant trees to form a “greenbelt” to provide a buffer between the building and the other businesses nearby. The fence and the greenbelt are two of the conditions put in place by the planning committee as part of the zone change.
The Marietta City Council will decide whether to rezone at their next meeting, May 14.