Thursday, May 4, 2005

County adopts zoning changes

Staff Writer

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors adopted changes in zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations and new zoning maps at a public hearing Monday, May 2.

The changes update a 10-year-old Comprehensive Plan and establish a new Residential Estates zoning district in the northern portion of the county.

The subdivision regulations will require developers to state on the subdivision plat the size culvert required for each lot to handle storm water runoff. Any anticipated problems with runoff as a result of development should be taken up with Soil and Water Conservation or the zoning board, according to county engineer Larry Britt. Those issues are not addressed in the subdivision regulations, he said.

County administrator Larry Hall said engineers who design subdivisions should decide the size of pipe needed for lots rather than leave that to the lot buyer who sometimes installs too small a pipe and then overlays or pours a driveway and discovers later that the culvert will not handle the runoff.

Purchase of the pipe will be left up to the lot buyer except in cases where some developers include the drainage pipe with the lot.

During public comment some homeowners in the residential estates district complained that minimal square feet for homes set at 1,200 per house should be higher.

“I do not see where a 1,200 square foot (minimum) applies to an upscale home,” said Betty Scobey. “You think small and you get small.”

She argued that larger homes improve the tax base of the county while small home owners and mobile home owners do not get taxed enough. She also decried letting commercial businesses in too close to nice, upscale houses.

Supervisor Keith Taylor replied that the minimal square footage requirements for residential estate districts were raised from 800 square feet to 1,200 square feet and new mobile homes were disallowed.

“I don’t want people to raise a family in Marshall County and over price it where their kids can’t move down the street,” he said.

Scobey argued that individuals who have invested all their hard earned money for a large home and property should not have their peace and quiet disturbed by “a part of society that is less desirable than what we think of.”

“I agree with you wanting to make it bigger, but I don’t want to deny anyone,” said Taylor.

“We live in a world where everybody’s lifestyle is different, but if we are going to pay taxes, we should get something for this tax,” Scobey said.

“We can’t do zoning just for people from Germantown moving here,” said Taylor.

Realtor Patrick Terrell commented that property values do not necessarily plummet in neighborhoods where there are upscale homes mixed in with smaller homes and mobile homes. Appraisers compare the price of the upscale home with others within a one-mile or even up to 10-mile radius, he said.

“Any developer has an option of buying as many acres and making restrictions as large as they want to,” he said. “If someone wants to put in a subdivision upscale, that’s always available, isn’t it?”

“Sure,” said Britt.

Bobby Daniels from Mt. Pleasant said he would like to see the minimum square footage in the RE districts set at 1,500 square feet.

“We want to ask you to keep mobile homes out of our area,” said Johnny Mize of Sweetwater Farms subdivision. “We also want you to keep businesses away and not have any more mobile homes than what there are.”

Taylor explained that RE districts will not allow any additional mobile homes to be added, but existing ones will be allowed to stay until they are no longer inhabitable.

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