INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to re-zone 163 acres in west Gifford which would remove any heavy industrial uses, but allow more business opportunity in the area.
The preliminary decision to approve the West Gifford Industrial and Commerce District, will limit the types of heavy industrial business that could come into the new zone, allow more light industrial uses, provide for other types of businesses to come in as well as provide for some residential uses.
“This area is strategic to the county for economic development,” said Indian River County Planning Director Stan Boling. “It is time we look at it as Gifford’s front yard and not its back yard.”
The development of the new district was an outgrowth of community outrage in 2007 when the county approved the Prestige Concrete plant because it met all the heavy industrial zoning requirements. The county must still hear from current businesses that might be affected by the change and go before Planning and Zoning before the change becomes official perhaps as early as December.
The area under consideration extends north of 43rd Avenue to 58th Avenue and between 41st and 45th streets , with one section extending north of 45th.
While the proposed district will cut out such industrial uses as concrete plants or textile mills, it will allow for business such as restaurants, RV dealerships, boat dealers, computer and data processing and other commercial uses.
With the change the new zone creates 18 more uses than currently allowed under the general industrial category. It also will allow for some development of single and multi-family homes.
Two current types of businesses will be grandfathered in which are already in operation in the proposed zone. The current mulch production operation will be allowed to continue and the six salvage yards already in operation will also stay in business.
At present 70 of the 163 acres are vacant or undeveloped, 50 acres are in commercial or government use, 30 acres are being used as salvage yards and 13 acres are single family or mobile homes.
“We enhanced something and made it plausible and it can enhance and beautify my community,” said Tony Brown, one of the community leaders who worked on the changes.