Thursday, March 20, 2008
Habitat requests lot from county
By SUE WATSON
Greg Taylor and Leontyne Thompson, with Marshall County Habitat for Humanity, approached the board of supervisors last week seeking a lot to build its next home on in Holly Springs.
Taylor said Merchants and Farmers Bank in Holly Springs works with Habitat to keep the loan paperwork flowing and provides interest-free loans.
So far, Habitat has built four homes in 13 years since it was organized in the county, Thompson said. The group raises funds to help get new homes started, donates labor, and helps out in ways to chip away at the cost of a new Habitat house.
Taylor said Habitat builds homes at a cost ranging from $40,000 to $65,000. The new homeowner puts sweat equity into the home and helps build the next Habitat home.
Taylor said the homeowner can sell the home at a later date but they usually hold the home for a minimum of 15 years.
As the homeowner pays off the loan, the money goes into the fund for the next house, he said.
Rust College holds a banquet each year and funds raised are donated to Habitat, Thompson said. Churches located in the county are the largest group of contributors.
Of the four homes already built, three are located in Holly Springs and one in Byhalia, they said.
Thompson and Taylor asked the board of supervisors if the county had a lot it could donate to Habitat for the next house.
Bill Renick with Marshall County Industrial Authority named several sites where the county owns land for supervisors to think about.
However the board advised that the county cannot donate property to an individual. It can sell a property.
Willie Earl Beard and Thomas Morgan appeared before the board to discuss an issue Beard has with zoning.
In February, Beard appeared before the board of supervisors to appeal a zoning ruling to deny him a permit to move a burned-out mobile home on his grandparents’ property off Pegues Road in District 4.
Beard said he bought the trailer “to put a roof over his head” until his mother can build a house.
“I didn’t come to step on people’s toes,” he said. “I want a temporary roof so I can proceed with my life.”
He said his mother ran into problems with property surveys and delayed building.
The zoning board, he alleged, had said he had to move the burned-out unit off the property to have it repaired. Beard said the trailer sustained smoke damage and he would put up dry wall to make it habitable.
Conway Moore with zoning said the property originally in his mother’s name was zoned for single wide units.
“In the meantime, he proceeded to move it, got stuck, the tongue broke, and then it got stuck on private property,” she said. “Meanwhile, zoning got a call that it is a damaged trailer that had burned. We sent two out to look. They reported back the trailer is damaged and he was not authorized to move it based on the damage.”
She said the zoning board turned Beard’s request for a permit down after the board learned it was a burned unit.
Beard said the unit was damaged before he moved it and he got it stuck moving up Pegues Road. The tongue broke during the move, he said.
Moore added that zoning was not aware Beard had been living in an R.V. at the time without a permit.
“Afterward, Beard moved it to a property he was told not to move it to,” she said.
Supervisor George Zinn and Willie Flemon questioned why Beard would be ordered to move the unit off the property to have it repaired, then move it back.
Beard said the suggestion was contradictory and it would cost extra money to do that.
“My position is I can’t see why it would differ to repair there on his own property,” Zinn said.
Beard said he would have to go out Pegues Road with it and damage the unit more.
Flemon noted the zoning rules in the county state a permit cannot be issued unless a unit is in good condition.
“That’s what I am asking,” Beard said.
Zinn asked about a time frame to allow Beard to repair the unit.
Beard said he could repair the drywall in 30 days - that the only damage to the unit was smoke.
“The building inspector disagreed,” Moore said.
Zinn said he felt Beard should be given time to do the repair.
“I feel like everybody is not as privileged financially as others,” he said. “I feel like he should be given an opportunity.”
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett asked Beard if he was aware of the zoning regulations that a burned out unit cannot be moved to a property.
“The county is trying to prevent this,” he said. “If it was a good trailer, you wouldn’t be here.”
Beard said the day he decided to move the unit, zoning stepped in. He said he bought the unit on the condition he had to move it as soon as possible.
“What happened to the house construction?” Zinn asked.
Beard said his mother was supposed to start it the first of the year but she kept getting offers from people wanting to buy her land.
At this juncture, board attorney Kent Smith advised the board a lawsuit has been filed in chancery court that touches on the matter (Thomas G. and Robin Morgan vs. Willie Beard).
Chancellor Glen Alderson issued an injunctive order February 28 until the case could be heard, he said.
Smith recommended the board take no action on Beard’s appeal until the court matter was settled. He said it appears Chancellor Alderson may want the county to participate in the suit as a party to explain the zoning board’s decision.
“It does not say he cannot make repairs but I don’t think it wise this board take action until the injunction is cleared up,” Smith said.
Zinn then motioned to follow the attorney’s advice.
Thomas Morgan asked to participate in the discussion. He said Chancellor Alderson made it clear verbally that Beard was to make no repairs until a final decision was entered on the injunction. He asked supervisors not to take action until the preliminary injunction was heard.
“Anything Mr. Beard does is his decision,” he said.
Supervisors closed the discussion with a motion to table the matter.
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