Thursday, September 25, 2008
Zoning acts on various requests
By SUE WATSON
The Marshall County Planning Commissioners took up 13 requests at the September meeting, some of which were contested by residents.
One item on the list drew a large turnout of people opposed to the placement of a single-wide in a development with covenants for double-wide mobile homes. They opposed, saying their property values would go down. They, nevertheless, said they had feelings for the Nichols’ family situation. They offered various solutions of their own.
Charles and Anna Nichols lost their house in DeSoto County and a baby in a fire and want to put a used single-wide on a Lot 54 at Circle B Farms (Bennett Circle) to live in for two years. Developer Mary Ann Hurdle donated the 2.1 acre property and sold the Nichols Lot 53. The Nichols have a used single-wide they would place at the back of Lot 54. Lot 53 has a driveway laid and the Nichols said they have to spend money for electric and septic tank as well and do not have money for building a new driveway for Lot 54.
Although the covenants at Circle B stipulate only double-wides or houses in the development, the area is zoned Residential-1 by the county and single-wides are permitted only by special exception if there is a hardship.
Thirty-three letters were sent out to neighbors with seven approvals and three objections returned as well as a signed petition against the single-wide.
Donna Tanksley, who is opposed to single-wides in the development, asked how zoning would make the Nichols move after two years if they failed to get a house built or the single-wide moved out.
“Our covenants say 960 square feet (minimum) and double-wides only,” she said.
Charlie Nichols said they need a place to live and give stability to their remaining three children. The lots are extremely narrow and he does not want to build on Lot 53, he said.
Pam Marcey was concerned that the Nichols may not be able to make good on their promise to remove the single-wide in two years.
“We are in a double-wide and moved in several years ago with every intention to build,” she said. “Six years later we are still in the mobile home. We live paycheck-to-paycheck. The rest of us have life issues and are sympathetic to the Nichols.”
Stanley Hudson and his wife Carrie were the first to move into their side of the development. Now they have 14 neighbors, he said. He is worried about setting precedents.
“Everyone has complied and neighbors have all improved their sites,” he said. ‘Once you allow it, how can you deny the next guy?”
Planning Commissioner Bill Kinkade agreed about the precedent.
“Would you agree if in two years they get this done?” he asked.
Jessie Lyles and her husband Tony were concerned about the shape of the used single-wide, which she believes is a waste of money.
“Older mobile homes require a lot of TLC,” she said. “That’s lots of wasted money that could be spent on a house.”
Commissioner Ethylene Jones suggested it may not take the Nichols two years to get in better circumstances.
“If I don’t have it done in two years, we will move on,” Charles Nichols said. “I bought Lot 53 for the driveway.”
Carrie Hudson said her son has two children and they live payday-to-payday and rent a house.
Charles Nichols’ mother said her daughter-in-law, who recently graduated from massage school, needs time to get a business established.
“They hardly have anything to eat,” she added.
Commissioner Flick Ash asked what legal authority zoning has to force the Nichols to move if they don’t make it in two years.
“The planning commission could direct it be moved or you’d have to go to chancery court,” said the commission’s attorney Gene Brown.
“We are trying to get a home for our children; we’ve already been in the slums,” said Charles Nichols.
“It’s hard for me not to help somebody when they are down,” Ash said. “I make a motion to give them two years to fix it up right and underpin it and keep it decent. Seventy-five of the lots out there (in the county) are single-wides with 170 feet of frontage.”
“Can’t they put a double-wide?” asked commissioner Agnes Foster.
“If I get a double-wide, I won’t have money for a septic tank,” Charles Nichols said.
“I wish you’d consider getting one lot,” said Kinkade. “If you’ve got cash and a promising career, it's much better. I am not in favor (of the single-wide/special exception).”
Ash’s motion failed for lack of a second.
Kinkade followed with a motion to deny with Foster seconding. The motion passed 4-1 with Ash voting against it.
The Nichols will appeal the decision of zoning at the September 29 meeting of the board of supervisors. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.
Other zoning actions
Sonya T. Lopez asked to put a double-wide mobile home on her property for her mother on Lot 8 of Quinn Road Estates which is zoned Residential Estates.
Mrs. Paula Ballard, her mother, who has been living in an RV beside her son’s home in Southaven, said she wants to live near her daughter in case either she or her daughter needs help. Her daughter lives in a single-wide.
Zoning Director Conway Moore suggested that Lopez could add on to the single-wide.
“The real issue is the lot is zoned R-E which prohibits mobile homes,” said Kinkade. “I am not inclined to put a new trailer there except in special circumstances. I could see taking the single-wide out and replacing it with a double-wide. As far as zoning there has to be circumstances.”
“Looks like she’s got circumstances,” said Ash. “She’s getting a little age on her like I am. I believe she’s got a good case or better than some. I motion to allow, pending zoning looks at it and she can fix it up.”
The motion passed with a vote of 3-2 with Kinkade and commissioner Joe Hurdle opposing.
In another agenda item, Adrian Trevino had asked to establish a horse training facility on 61.73 acres located at the end of Petty Farms Road off St. Paul Road. The acreage is zoned Agricultural-Residential and is the same spot where the zoning commission had rejected a petition to operate a horse racing track which was heavily contested by the community.
Commissioner Hurdle was the first to address Trevino’s request for a permit.
“Against all these odds, what can you tell the people who live down there?” he asked. “No alcohol, no loud music, and they can race their horse on the track. You will have security and no music, just a speaker?”
Moore asked how many horses would train in a day.
Trevino said they would be open on Saturday and Sunday.
“One issue last time was health requirements for horses and those regulations,” said Kinkade.
George Powell, who lives one-half mile from the acreage objected at length.
“They had to come by my gate (driveway) every other Sunday when they raced, sold beer and drank,” he said. “St. Paul Road is dangerous, narrow, pitted, and has a blind hill. Vehicles pulling trailers from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and a few Mississippi cars were there except for a few residents trying to get to their houses in between or behind these horse trailers. This would stop traffic on St. Paul Road trying to let out these trailers.
“This is the same thing. It is a race track. People are not coming for the fun of eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and to drink an R.C. Cola.”
He said Sardis Reservoir has no drinking and does not sell it (alcohol), but “there is all the drinking you want on Sardis Reservoir.”
Powell said people out there bought 10 acres or four acres, to try to get away from traffic and noise and for the environment.
“It’s going to be another race track and more trouble, I pretty well know,” said Ash. “I motion to deny.”
The board agreed, voting 5-0 against the permit to operate a horse training facility.
In another matter, Duane Thomas and Jamie Smith came in to ask for an audience regarding a permit for electricity on acreage purchased from Barry Thomas on Highway 78.
They said they want to build an emergency service training center to train clients like the military, police, ambulance, fire and emergency workers.
The company already has training facilities at Virginia Beach, Virginia, and wants to build a training facility in this area close to the Memphis airport. The wanted permission to place two modular classrooms and would build an administration building.
They planned to build to Navy specifications and would train professionals in the use of small firearms and teach people who travel abroad how to handle trouble, among other things.
“If you are part of Homeland Security, what would you train me to do?” asked Moore.
Thomas added that the company would train air marshals and would put a fuselage on site.
Ash asked why the outfit was moving dirt without coming before planning for a permit.
“The logical place to go is to IDA (the Industrial Development Authority) and develop through the county,” Kinkade advised.
Ash asked if they had checked with the chamber of commerce before coming to Holly Springs.
Thomas said his son’s business is growing so fast and there is so much work to do, the business has to expand. He lives in Batesville. He said Highway 78 is a corridor for the Southeastern states.
Smith added that they were in a hurry to get the facility built, wanted power then planned to present the idea to the community.
Ash motioned to deny the permit for electricity and suggested they talk with IDA and to the board of supervisors.
Other items on the agenda and actions included:
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