Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TOP STORY >> Zoning hearing attracts crowd

Leader staff writer

Residents of Sun Terrace subdivision in Cabot will have to wait one more month for a decision from the planning commission about whether property on their side of Hwy. 89 will be rezoned from residential to commercial.

At the request of the developers and over loud objections from 120 or so residents, the planning commission took no action on the requested rezoning Tuesday night to allow developers time to put together a proposal for a planned unit development (PUD), which is essentially a rezoning request and site plan rolled into one.

The city council refused to act on the proposed rezoning during its December meeting after about 100 residents showed up to protest any commercial development on their side of Hwy. 89, across from Wal-Mart.

Residents also were strongly opposed to an entrance into the proposed 11-acre commercial subdivision off Rockwood, the only entrance into their subdivision.

The commission had already voted in December to recommend the rezoning to the council, but aldermen sent the rezoning back to the commission with the instructions that they wanted to see it as a PUD.

“It’s going to be hard to get a rezone of this magnitude without it,” Ron Craig, commission chairman, told the developers Tuesday night. “Unanswered questions make people nervous and make people scared. They make this commission nervous and scared.”

The developers told the commission that they didn’t comply with the council’s request because they believed they couldn’t. Since they intend to develop only one lot of the multi-lot subdivision themselves, they would have no control over what happened on the other lots, they said.
After discussing the problem with the commission, they decided that a PUD is possible and asked for time to design it.

If the commission had simply turned down the rezoning request as it was presented, the developers could not ask again for 12 months.
“Vote no and let’s go home,” one man called out.

The commission’s decision to grant the request to postpone their decision for one month drew jeers from the crowd.
“You didn’t do your job,” a man standing against the wall said.

“Y’all want to do a better job, y’all are welcome to come up here,” Craig shot back.
Matt Bell and John Moore, who plan to develop the property if it is rezoned, have scheduled a meeting with Sun Terrace residents at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the courtroom across from the council chambers in the city annex building.

A flyer about the meeting says the developers intend to be completely open about all plans for the 11.15 acres at the northwest corner of Hwy. 89 and Rockwood. That plan would improve traffic flow on Rockwood, the developers say.