Hurrah for new businesses!
But in the wrong place?
Judging by the critical reaction from some to the Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals' rejection of a bottle redemption center on West 23rd Street, there should not be a "wrong place" for a new business. The "not in my backyard" syndrome is part of what's holding Jamestown back from prosperity, critics say.
But we notice that the people who live in that northside neighborhood only were asking the Zoning Board to enforce the rules. The issue came up last week when the owner of a redemption center for bottles and cans in Falconer asked for a variance to use an existing building on West 23rd to expand his business to Jamestown's northside.
He expected 70 to 90 customers a day, six days a week, plus two trucks to pick up the bottles and cans. That seems reasonable - except the building fronts on a side street in a nice residential area that is already under stress from extra traffic caused by a supermarket plaza on Washington Street.
The zoning rules allow businesses like a can redemption center in the area - if it fronts on a major street.
This one would not. The heavy traffic would be on side streets in a neighborhood where residents already are dealing with a shrinking buffer zone between their homes and the commercial enterprises on Washington Street.
Yes, Jamestown needs new businesses. But it is critical that the city preserve its neighborhoods as well.
The Zoning Board of Appeals got it right.
But that does not have to be the end of the story. Now perhaps the city Development Department could help identify one of the many, many vacant buildings fronting on Washington and Fluvanna that might be perfect for a can and bottle redemption center.