LEXINGTON -- The Lexington Village Planning Commission on Thursday evening approved a downtown landowner's request to subdivide a nearly half-acre of a parcel at the village square.
Property owner Andy Meade made the lot-split request so that a .44-acre portion of his property, located along Mill Street in the parcel's northeast corner, can be excluded from a potential future development contract.
Meade's parcel extends from the former Lexington Plaza building to the large lower parking lot behind the Nickel and Bean coffee shop.
Meade said he has worked with a developer for several months to replace the former Lexington Plaza building, which was recently torn down.
He said he has negotiated with the developer to keep the .44-acre section of the property in order to allow for more parking and better access to Nickel and Bean, a neighboring lot at 27 E. Main St.
"Our reason for requesting a lot split is -- to be quite frank -- we feel very fortunate to have good neighbors," Meade said. "We feel like they represent the community well. And we feel like with only one entrance and one egress and limited parking, that their business would be damaged quite extensively."
Nicky Wong, one of the co-owners of Nickel and Bean, said the lot split will prevent the coffee shop from becoming "landlocked" if future developments eliminate vehicle access from the north and west.
The fate of the Lexington Plaza lot has been a source of curiosity for the community since it was torn down a few months ago.
After Meade gave no indication of what he and his developer are considering for the remainder of the parcel, Mayor Brian White asked Meade if he had any idea when he might be able to offer more details.
"Everything is just a matter of time. I'm trying to be as up front as I can," Meade responded.
"Every time that we've gotten close to making something to bring to you guys, I felt like it wasn't being protective enough of my neighbors, who I like and want to look out for. So I think if we get the lot split approved, I believe this is the final piece of the puzzle. I believe I'll have something for you guys next month," Meade said.
Residents also asked about what the process would be once Meade or the developer presents site plans.
Village administrator Andrew Smallstey said any site plans will be reviewed by the village engineer and necessary changes worked out with the developer. The plans will then be reviewed by the village planning commission.
Due to its location, the commission will also discuss whether or not the design will "maintain the integrity" of the existing downtown area.
"We don't want something with neon lights flashing, something crazy," Smallstey said.
Once the planning commission is satisfied, the plan will go to village council for approval. County offices, including the Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District, will also have to sign off on the plan.