Belle Center Told “No” By Building and Zoning, Board of Adjustment, Now in City Council’s Hands

A public hearing was held on Tuesday evening to discuss an application submitted by the Board of the Belle Center to occupy said building for multiple uses, such as an event space, business incubator, and co-working space.

The vision for the proposed use was read, in which they want to provide an entrepreneur advancement space. They would like to promote small business growth by allowing start-ups a place to grow, as some small businesses do not have the funds available for real estate.

Mt. Pleasant Building and Zoning Administrator, Jack Swarm, addressed the room. He stated that the purpose of the Belle Center is needed, however, it does not suit the district it is currently zoned in, R3. According to Swarm, the proposed use for the Belle Center means it belongs in the business district, B1. If the use was 100% for philanthropic and educational purposes, then R3 would be appropriate.

Currently, the Belle Center does not house any for profit businesses, however, it does not line up neatly with the zoning ordinance. As a result of this, it was Swarm’s recommendation that this matter be placed before the City Council.

Board Chair, Patricia File, made the comment that the board does not want to go down the road of “spot” zoning.

The Board of Adjustment denied the request to allow occupancy at the Belle Center for the uses listed, after the Building and Zoning Administrator said that the uses are not permitted in the R-3 Multiple Family Dwelling District.