Friday, October 01, 2010

TOP STORY > >City hall meeting marred by arrest

By rick kron

Leader staff writer

A disgruntled county resident, upset with Jacksonville’s proposed annexation, was arrested Thursday night at a concerned-citizens committee meeting at city hall.

Charles Kent Jr., 52, of 6011 Peters Road, was escorted out of the meeting, arrested and charged with disorderly conduct shortly after the meeting began.

Alderman Marshall Smith, chairman of the committee, which is a mix of city officials and residents of the area being considered for annexation, said Kent just wouldn’t sit down after rambling about his rights, the lack of committee minutes and the committee’s failure to follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

When Smith tried to proceed with the meeting, Kent said he had the floor. “And I’m not yielding the floor,” he insisted.

Kent continued to talk over Public Works Director Jim Oakley, who was there to discuss some concerns raised by the residents in the 3.84-square-mile area the city wants to annex.

”I tried to keep everything professional,” Smith said, “but Kent continued to argue and wouldn’t leave even after the police chief talked to him.”

Kent was finally escorted out of the meeting.

After the arrest things settled down. “I think we made a lot of progress,” Smith said. “Everyone on the committee was very nice. I think people are realizing that we are trying to meet their needs.

The alderman said a draft ordinance covering a variety of issues in the proposed annexation area will be presented at the city council meeting next Thursday.

The northern acreage includes 297 separate parcels of land, 2,454 acres or about 3.84 square miles. It follows a line to the east of Hwy. 67/167 and T.P. White Drive, north past Carrington Road to east Republican Road. It then crosses Peters Road and comes down to the west of Burrin Lane and zigzags past Puma Lane and Pridmore Road before coming into west Maddox Road.

The city also wants to annex a small section to the south of the city limits.

That section includes 79 parcels of land with 232 acres, or about 0.36 square miles. That area follows a line west of Hwy. 161, cutting between Onyx and Marcelline Lane, east of Double A Lane before moving east of Hwy. 161 and shifting north again across Brickell Lane and up Tucker Road.

Because Jacksonville wants to annex, it must be approved by residents of the city and those living in the areas slated for annexation. The vote will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

At Thursday’s meeting the committee decided that it would be acceptable for the rural residents to be able to burn yard waste, but Oakley reminded everyone that because of the dry weather, there was currently a burn ban.

It also appears that shooting of firearms and hunting would be allowed on properties that are 10 acres or larger in size.

The committee will also suggest to the city council that the area is given at least six months before code enforcement starts to issue citations. “That gives people a chance to bring their property up to city code,” Smith said.

Because county residents can buy, sell and shoot fireworks, the committee suggested a citywide window for the sale and use of fireworks. The city attorney will look at fireworks rules in other local cities to help develop a plan for Jacksonville.

The city’s planning commission will look at zoning issues at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at city hall.

The committee has been re-assured by City Engineer Jay Whisker that most of the acreage will be able to continue its current use. Whisker will develop a map of the area showing current uses and recommended zoning.

The committee is slated to meet again at 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at city hall.