TwoBonhamBusinesses

The debate over the commercial use of the residentially-zoned property has simmered for years in Bonham, but it came to a head last month, as one business owner announced plans, to close his Bonham office, while another rallied community support to keep her doors open.

Hutchinson Press, which for 30 years has operated out of a four-unit building at 3326 -27 Oak St. (near 15th), is moving downtown to Green Street on January 2.

“I’ve tried to fight this for a long time, but it’s a losing battle,” said owner Christopher Bryant. “We’ve thrown in the towel”.

Bryant has issued a warning from the Bonham Planning Department in October 2016 which said that by running a business out of a residence, he was violating the city planning code. The case was forgotten for a few months, and then at the urging of some Oak Street neighbors, was pursued again in December by city Zoning Administrator Joseph Cain.

“I had two choices: I could disassemble my business and fire a several people, or I could move.” said Bryant.

The owners of Type Recorder at 2nd and Main streets, however, are not ready to give up. On September 2016 the property owner Blake Brooks informed them that the video store would have to shut down because he was being sued by the city for improper use of the ground-floor space.

“People have said: ‘You could just move”, said Eugenia Short, who owns the popular shop along with her husband, Dave. “But this is a community-based business. Even if we move three blocks away, we can’t be assured of the same clientele.”

The Shorts have hired three different attorneys and a zoning consultant to investigate the possibility of staying at their home. “The worst part so far has been letting go our four employees in order to cover lawyer fees, etc”, said Eugenia.