Special called meeting scheduled to hear appeal
By Carolyn Roy
The controversial proposed development of a subdivision on St. Maurice Lane will be the subject of an appeal to the City Council when it meets in a special session Friday, Sept. 13 at 9 a.m. At its Aug. 6 meeting, the City Planning and Zoning Commission denied the request of Justin Rhodes to subdivide 7 acres between the historic Roselawn on Williams Avenue and Harling Lane.
The proposed development would be a single-family residential subdivision with 28 lots. The developer requested variances of 10 feet of the required 60-foot minimum right-of-way width; 10 feet of the required 25-foot front and rear setbacks; and the location of certain utilities. An application by Eddie Ahrens to develop the area in May of 2007 was also turned down by the planning commission.
In June of that year, an appeal of the decision was successful if Ahrens would develop a restrictive covenant and hold-harmless clause that the City would not be responsible for damages associated with maintenance of utilities. According to planning and zoning commission records, Ahrens was notified of the change but he had no further contact with the City for 12 years. If there is no action within six months of the preliminary approval, a new application is required. At the meeting Aug. 6, the main concerns were about potential drainage, flooding, increased traffic and declining property values.
Planning and Zoning Director Juanita Fowler said she received six letters of opposition as well as input from members of the City staff including fire, public works and utility departments. Twelve people spoke to oppose the application with two realtors from Rhoades Realty speaking for it.
Rhoades said he was willing to work with the City on drainage and wanted to remove the request for variances in rear and front yard setbacks. A motion passed to amend the application with those changes but the amended motion did not pass.
Commissioners Ron Brown, Jamie Flanagan, Isaac Lewis, Michael Lewis and Bobby Claiborne voted to deny the application with Jacob Cooper voting to approve it.