Family Heating & Air moved into a building without telling the city or taking out a new license for the location, according to city officials.
According to city manager Paul Carlisle, the staff from the city visited the business last week to work on a solution that’s best for Family Heating and Air and Sebastian. Carlisle said the staff from the city never told the company that they couldn’t conduct business at the location.
“Our goal is to work with them,” Carlisle said.
The next day, the company published a petition asking residents to help Family Heating & Air remain at the location. However, Carlisle said that was never the issue. The AC company moved into the building without contacting the city for permits.
The building is zoned for commercial, but not industrial. The city is trying to work with them to remain at the location as an office space, in the building they have apply commercial spray foam to be more energy efficient.
“The truth is that the AC company moved into the building without telling the city, no permits for changes to the building, no fire inspection, and no license taken out for that location,” Sebastian Mayor Ed Dodd told Sebastian Daily.
Dodd said the company wants to run a skilled trade business out of the building, but that use is not permitted in the Community Redevelopment Agency.
Across the street is Baker AC, but they are grandfathered in and were at their location before the code change.
We also spoke with councilman Jim Hill who read the article and petition earlier this morning.
“They moved in without checking the zoning laws. At what point do we not follow our own laws? We have the zoning laws there for a reason,” Hill told Sebastian Daily.
Hill said if they make an exception for one business, they will have to make it for everyone else.
“They also want to park their entire fleet of vehicles on the property, which is not zoned for that either,” said Hill.
So, who made up these zoning laws in Sebastian? The citizens did in 1999.
Carlisle said the city collected information from citizens to decide how the area should be zoned. They chose to allow for commercial property, but not for industrial.
The city council reviewed the zoning in 2015, keeping the same rules from 1999.