INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to change the zoning of property at the corner of State Road 60 and 74th Avenue to allow more commercial options, going against strong opposition voiced by neighbors at nearby Indian River Estates.
The 2.17 acres under consideration was zoned for use for professional office buildings, but property owner George Beuttell wanted to change the designation to allow more, but still limited, commercial use. Residents of Indian River Estates, whose land abuts the property, packed the commission chambers in hopes they could sway the commissioners, who had received a staff recommendation to approve the zoning change.
The residents had won the first round of the public battle when the county planning and zoning commission voted in July to deny Beuttell’s request to change the zoning. Beuttell appealed that ruling, which led to the commission vote Tuesday.
Indian River Estate residents voiced concern about safety, increased traffic and the possibility that the new zoning would allow for something like an overnight convenience store with high-powered lights in the parking lot.
Attorney Bruce Barkett, representing Beuttell, countered that the original owner of the property Adult Community Total Services (ACTS) had intended to use the property for commercial retail, but subsequently sold it. When the new owners failed to develop the land, it reverted to office use only.
Commissioner Joe Flescher remarked that he was very familiar with the property as it was part of the area for which he was responsible when he worked for the Sheriff’s Office. He said he thought it best to have the corner developed with something rather than its current use as a wide open staging area for trucks working on State Road 60.
“I believe that safety will be enhanced by development in the area,” he said.
Commissioner Wesley Davis acknowledged the concerns voiced by residents, but voiced the conclusion reiterated by Peter O’Bryan, Bob Solari and Gary Wheeler that overall Beuttell should have more options to develop the land.
“It’s not about who is right or who is wrong,” he said. “It is about what is doing right for Indian River County.”