Business future uncertain after license appeal fails

A business operating for nearly seven years in Evans likely will have to shut down after its license was not renewed.

The Columbia County Planning Commission on Thursday rejected the appeal from Scott Aldritch, of Old School Tool Repair at 4567 Cox Road, who had been turned down for an occupational tax placard – sometimes referred to as a business license.

Aldritch’s building was used until 2006 by a cabinet-making facility, and after that business moved out he continued to operate a cleaning service and a vacuum-cleaner repair shop, he told planning commissioners.

The business continued to evolve into one that now repairs tools and small-engine equipment, and he wanted to pass it to his stepson, Matt McFarland, to operate.

County planning officials, however, rejected the renewal because the business across from Evans High School doesn’t conform to its professional zoning.

“I guess it’s been out of compliance since the building was built” in 1961, Aldritch said.

Planning board members turned down the appeal, and said Aldritch’s only alternative is to move the business or to bring the building into compliance with neighboring professional parcels and then apply for a special zoning to allow it to continue to operate.

But they made it clear such an effort would be expensive, with no guarantee that a rezoning would then be approved.

Aldritch said he’s unsure of what he’ll do. “I guess we’ll punt,” he said. “This is a fledgling business.”

“This is what we were living off of,” McFarland said.

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