CRESTVIEW — AA Tactical CEO Andrew Rencich said he has faced numerous obstacles while planning a building for his business.
AA Tactical has been in business since February 2013; operations were home-based until June 2015, when he moved them to North Ferdon Boulevard.
Rencich said he hired Alan McGinnis as the architect of the new facility, Lord & Son Construction as the general contractor, and Hancock Bank funds the project; however, toward the end of development stages, the city found issues.
CONCERNS WITH PROJECT
According to Rencich, a couple of days after delivering plans to the city, the fire department called and said they needed to add a fire extinguisher and that was the only problem.
He later learned that the project made it through the planning and zoning department and just needed the building department’s approval.
But Rencich said that two days later, he learned there were major problems.
One concern the city had with the building plan was the upstairs portion. The building is set to be 3,253 square feet with 1,000 square feet of mezzanine. A mezzanine is a low story between two other stories with no walls. In Rencich’s building plan, this space included walls for a small office.
On May 30, Rencich met with members of the city, including Mayor David Cadle, Councilman JB Whitten and Director of Growth Management Teresa Gaillard.
"Mr. Rencich, who is a valued businessman in our city, is attempting to expand his business and has had some complications with his building plans," Whitten said. "He identified these problems to Mayor Cadle and me as the president of the Crestview City Council. We immediately set up a meeting with him, Ms. Gaillard, and his architect.
"Although his architect was unable to attend, the other four of us met, reviewed his plans while looking at the city ordinances and building codes," he said. "It was a good meeting and we reached an agreement to submit his plans to our contracted land attorney for a more thorough review of his plans and the related documents to see if there is any way that Andrew can move ahead with his current plans.
"We are on hold pending an opinion from our land attorney."
As for Rencich’s thoughts on the meeting, he said, “I’m not, nor I think any of us in that meeting, are educated on code. Why we have some of these little requirements put upon ourselves is beyond me. They just [hinder] business.”
Rencich’s wife, April, said that a number of codes and regulations make it hard for small businesses to do anything.
“The way I see it, if you’re pro-business of the city, they would say, ‘Well no, we need to go down this path; this is the right way we need to do it,’ instead of just shutting you down and saying, ‘Good luck,’” she said. “There’s a lot of business owners here in Crestview that we talked to that feel this way.”
Rencich said he is more optimistic about the future of his building after the May 30 meeting.
“Their intent now is to utilize the Board of Adjustments, and they are reaching out to their land attorney to see the best way to move forward,” he said. The Board of Adjustment hears and decides appeals, variations, exceptions, or disputes where it is alleged there is an error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made in the administration and enforcement of the Land Use Regulations.
“The board of adjustments could take possibly another two months,” Rencich said.
ADJUSTING THE PLAN
Rencich, who said the building would be the corporate headquarters, said he finds it frustrating to tell customers they are going to be building soon, and having to push it off repeatedly.
They are now adjusting the building plan.
“The biggest thing was, it should have been fixed during the process not after,” Rencich said. “I think we’re going to get there … I’m going to put more money into getting there — I haven’t figured out yet where exactly that cutline is.”
They are currently in the process of cost analyzing a standard metal building instead of the original building model.
“I am going to give the city their due diligence,” Rencich said. “I’m sure there are things that I haven’t done right because I’ve never done it.”
Rencich, a recent appointee to the Crestview Charter Change Board, said he looks forward to seeing the different ways they can make things more efficient within the city.