Photo by Sue WatsonJohn Porter explains the location of land he owns at the corner of Highway 302 and Barringer Road for a zoning change request. In back are some of those against the change.
Residents oppose rezoning
A number of residents living at Riverside Estates, on Farley Road, at Rachel Cove, Landon Circle, Jessie Cove and Addison Lane fought to stop rezoning of property in their neighborhood to industrial use.
The Marshall County Zoning Commission approved the rezoning and the homeowners came to the board of supervisors to appeal the decision.
“We hope you will put yourself in our place,” said Lisa Dignowity. “It will affect our property values.”
She said there are two properties in the Barton area up for resale, both homes where the owners had died. Land for houses is in high demand because of the location, Dignowity said.
Residents do not want warehouses and extra traffic. They are already having issues with traffic due to GPS taking truck traffic the wrong way, she said.
Nancy Fleming, who lives in the 1600 block of Barringer Road, opposes the rezoning. Her family’s land was left to them by their grandmother, Mattie Mayes, who lived on the property all her life.
Her sister Shelia Green and she inherited the property.
“With warehouses already on Wingo, there is increased traffic,” Fleming said. “The 18-wheelers are creating dangerous situations.”
Six generations have lived on the land and they want to continue to use their land and feel safe, she said.
Linda Cordle built a house in 2006 before the big land rush, as she said, “in good faith.”
She said concerned citizens sent letters to the board of supervisors, but it turns out the mail went to the physical location at the courthouse they got off the website rather than the post office address.
“Our concerns are in good faith; we built our houses and citizens should have a say,” Cordle said.
She cited a Supreme Court ruling in 2008 concerning reasons an applicant can use to ask for rezoning.
The ruling noted a mistake in an original document or a change in the neighborhood, plus public need should be shown for rezoning requests.
“A public need does not exist,” Cordle said.
She lives within about a half mile from the property in question that is to be rezoned.
Some people said the action looks more like spot zoning.
The property to be rezoned consists of 184.9 acres owned by John Porter.
Jimmie Miller read a letter the group wrote to the board of supervisors.
“We’ve watched our ranches and farmlands taken. Now we have warehouses and trucking going at all hours. We still feel like we live in the country with nature all around. I implore you to seek balance. Instead build homes, parks, trails and schools.”
Porter said he is the applicant. He lives in Collierville, Tenn.
“The main point is there has been a material change to the neighborhood,” he said, citing I-269, which is the largest interchange in the industrial park area.
“It’s probably one of the best pieces of industrial property in the county,” he said. “The county needs tax dollars from commercial and industrial (growth).”
He said the industrial park starts at Wingo Road and goes to the west to Quinn Road.
Justin Hall, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, explained that some landowners in the area of Highway 309 and Highway 72 decided to participate in the park development. Utilities were the focus of development of I-269 and Highway 302. The infrastructure was available or could be developed.
“IDA approved it (the 184.9 acres) upon successful rezoning,” he said.
The zoning board previously approved the rezoning to industrial by a vote of 4-1 with District 3 zoning representative Bobby Bonds voting against it.
“That’s in my district,” said supervisor Keith Taylor, who represents District 3. “I put myself in their (the residents’) shoes. There’s plenty of property.”
Porter said there are lots of parcels in the industrial park that never will be built on because of environmental issues, etc.
The property in question has no homes on it, he said. And he just bought a 400-acre site in the area and is getting ready to build neighborhood houses in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range, he said.
“I’m putting my money where my mouth is,” Porter said.
His plan for that subdivision would be to build a berm six feet high to deflect noise and add trees so the neighborhood will be very near the park but subjected to little noise, including truck noise that will be 500-600 feet away.
The landscaping will be manicured under a contract.
Supervisor Charles Terry reviewed some of the issues at hand:
• there is prime real estate involved.
• there is traffic.
• there is a change in the neighborhood.
• property should be rezoned for parks and a school.
He said he lives on West Street and hears the noise of the train traffic at the woodyard.
Terry asked an appraiser how it would affect property values and she said “none.”
“I think about the economic impact,” he said. “That’s a community where there is an economic impact. There is no berm around my house. I can hear rail ties being loaded in train cars. But what do you think about the impact for Marshall County? I have the same issue.”
One homeowner objecting to the rezoning said, “Our taxes will never go down, our property values will go down.”
The board voted to table the matter.
Later on in the meeting with the crowd dispersed, supervisors voted on the rezoning issue. The results were 4-1 to uphold zoning’s approval of the rezoning. Taylor’s was the opposing vote.