Thursday, April 30, 2009
Board hears zoning issue
By SUE WATSON
A Barton citizens advisory committee met with a developer’s representative to discuss rezoning, but didn’t check with citizens of a subdivision who say they would be affected by the rezoning, according to several residents of the Barton Heights Subdivision.
Bob Barber, representing developer Earl Warren, and subdivision residents Lloyd Yarbrough and David Moak, were on opposite sides of a rezoning issue brought before the Marshall County Board of Supervisors last week for approval.
Presenting a schematic of eight-plus acres of property, the remainder of which Warren wants rezoned to C-2, Barber listed how the developer would address the Barton Advisory Committee’s concerns.
Barber proposed setting up a green buffer composed of landscaping and a fence on the portion of property that would be visible from the back doors of residences in the subdivision like David Moak’s.
The buildings would be brick or masonry and the space at the back of the property would be developed for offices, he said. No convenience stores were proposed for the site and Warren had agreed to prohibit flea markets, truck stops, outside storage and liquor sales - types of businesses that neighborhoods typically find disruptive.
In short, Warren proposed to build “a nice shopping area and meet a need for convenient services,” Barber said.
David Moak, one resident of Barton Heights who said he spent close to $300,000 on his home several years ago and intended to live in the subdivision into retirement, has two acres outside the subdivision he purchased that abuts his lot (Lot 13). He bought the two acres, that is zoned C-2, from John Cox in 2005. Moak said he was not notified of the rezoning of the area when the entire county was rezoned during comprehensive planning.
Zoning director Conway Moore advised that the entire rezoning was run in the county newspaper to let the public know how the zones were set up.
That same year, Moak was building his home in Marshall County and bought the extra two acres from Cox, he said.
“I don’t want to walk out my back door and look at a commercial retail business,” Moak said.
From Indianola, Moak said he moved to Barton to have the kind of home he wanted and to be able to commute to work in the Memphis area.
If Warren develops the eight acres, water will shed and stand on his property, he said.
Moak said he moved to Marshall County because of location. He wanted to live in a home surrounded by woods in a quiet setting and to be able to watch the lightning bugs at night and the blue-birds, crows, turkey and deer.
“I realize I can’t hold up progress,” Moak said. “I had the opportunity to buy the property for $3,000 but was told I couldn’t build on a pipeline.”
So, Moak bought two acres south of his back property line.
Supervisor George Zinn III said he would like to hear from Moak’s neighbors on the matter.
“Nobody in Barton Heights Cove is for this,” Moak said. “I built the most expensive house there because I intended to retire there. My neighbors are going to lose the same thing I love. They will see a street and retail property across the way when they walk out of their houses. I didn't move to Barton to see that. I had lived in Olive Branch and I could reach out and touch my neighbor's house. I am proud to be in Marshall County and I want to stay here.”
“You are of the opinion that nothing could be built as a buffer?” Zinn asked.
“I don’t see it. I don’t want to lose wildlife, coyote, deer, turkey that run across my yard,” Moak said.
Lloyd Yarbrough was invited to speak on the matter. He and his wife moved to Barton Heights in 1995 and they love it, he said.
“We’ve been good neighbors and good citizens and voted for politicians and when it comes time for me...I’m going to have my say,” he said. “We don’t think it’s right.”
He said his neighbor, Joann Hastings, who could not be present at the board meeting, asked, “Would you please tell them I don’t want this in my backyard?”
Yarborough has two lots, the one he lives on and one that was inherited from his in-laws.
“We don’t want this to be commercial,” he said adding that he has a 91-year-old neighbor who walks the street for exercise. “We all love that area and we would really appreciate it. I’m not asking you to do anything you wouldn’t do for yourself. Please put yourself in our position.”
District 3 supervisor Keith Taylor said the Barton Heights community’s concerns about what could be done with the commercially-zoned property if Warren transferred the property or sold it could be limited by zoning if the land was rezoned. The community was concerned about a subsequent property owner coming in and switching up uses.
Barber said that Leland cypress is proposed as a buffer. The tree reaches 30 feet in height, he said. He said the restrictions agreed to on the acreage that is rezoned would be put on the entire eight acres to protect the neighborhood’s interests.
Yarbrough explained that he was not contacted by Barber or the advisory committee but had learned about the proposed rezoning from a neighbor - Tim Redmond.
Moore said when there is a request for rezoning, letters are sent to anyone who has property touching the land that is up for rezoning and to anyone who has property touching the adjacent landowner’s property (one property removed).
“Yarbrough’s property did not touch this property that touched this tract,” she said. “So he didn’t get a letter.”
Taylor explained that the advisory board has been in existence just about a year and “is a work in progress.”
“Its whole purpose is to educate everybody to what is being asked for,” he said.
“We have been educated and will now pay attention,” Yarbrough said. “I am for the American way.”
Supervisor Eddie Dixon motioned to table the request until residents in Barton Heights Cove have time to meet with Barber and Warren. The motion, seconded by supervisor Willie Flemon, passed unanimously.
In a separate interview, Moore said 29 letters had been mailed out to property owners who would be affected by the rezoning of Warren’s property. Six lot owners in the subdivision were sent letters including Moak, Redmond and Hastings, she said.
The southeast corner of Hastings’ lot touches on Warren’s property that is up for rezoning, she said, and Moak’s two acres outside the subdivision already zoned C-2, adjoins the Warren property.
In other matters, the board of supervisors:
• learned they were invited to attend a meeting with the Tate County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to discuss redesigning a segment of Highway 4 West in Marshall and Tate counties. The improvement of some of that highway will make it safer for a Toyota supplier to be located in Senatobia, to connect with Highway 78 and Blue Springs, said Bill Mobley, executive director of Marshall County IDA.
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