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Re-zone action postponed until February

One of the most contentious re-zoning actions city officials have faced in recent history will be continued to the Feb. 17 city council meeting, rather than seeing some form of resolution. Aldermen, at the request of the developer, postponed the action.

Mayor Bill Cypert and aldermen Ed Long, Ann Gilliam, Rick Prentice, Ryan Flynn, Kevin Davis, Angie Jones, Jon Moore and Dallan Buchanan attended the Jan. 20 city council meeting.

Tim Lemons, of Lemons Engineering Consultants, speaking for Montclaire Development, asked the council to delay the third reading of the ordinance.

Approval of an ordinance requires three readings before an approval vote is taken. Monday’s reading would have been the third for Ordinance 28 allowing the re-zone.

The intent of the PUD has been to provide an upscale development tailored to the needs of older residents. However, reconsidering the intent, and the concerns of the Glenwood Estates residents, the plans for the development are being changed to 36 lots from the original 42 and other details, Lemons said.

Since the plan would be changed from that approved by the planning commission, Lemons asked for the council to table discussion to the Feb. 17 council meeting to allow the planning commission to review the changes at their February meeting.

Glenwood Estates resident Billy McCarroll, who has acted as spokesman for the residents opposing the subdivision as it is planned, agreed with the action. “We do still oppose the re-zone, but we do look at this as the spirit of compromise and we think that is a good sign…” he said.

However, resident Karen Marlatt continued opposition to the plan. “There were plans for 14 homes in that area. That’s it,” and is what is called for in the bill of assurance, she said. “There’s just too many things wrong with this,” she said.

Long made the motion to table Ordinance 28, which would make the re-zoning, seconded by Flynn; the council approved the motion to table on a voice vote with none voting against.

The request to re-zone the six-acres adjacent to Glenwood Estates from R-1 (single family residential) to planned unit development (PUD) ignited controversy from the beginning, and early led to the resignation of the previous planning commission chairman.

While each meeting has seen numerous residents challenge the development, McCarroll has stood as spokesman for the group from the start. McCarroll has presented the concerns of Glenwood residents from enforcement of the site plan to high traffic volume on the single road that serves Glenwood Estates, to reduction of property values.

In prior presentations, McCarroll has maintained that the addition would diminish the values of the existing Glenwood Estates homes. The existing homes are larger than 2,000 square feet valued at up to $300,000, “or more,” McCarroll said. The Montclaire development plans for 1,300- to 1,600 square-foot homes would be up $160,000, he said.

The difference between the 45 custom homes of Glenwood Estates on 25 acres and the proposed 42 “cookie-cutter” homes on six acres would reduce their property values.

Most, if not all, of the residents bought their homes with the understanding that the adjacent land was to be an extension of Glenwood Estates with 14 homes of equal value, he said.

Children in Glenwood walk or ride bicycles to Northside Elementary School, so safety concerns are great, he said. “This will more than double the residential traffic flow of our neighborhood,” he said during in previous presentations.

In other matters at Monday’s meeting, aldermen approved the purchase of the property at 709 North Jackson Street; the property would be used for the expansion of the Community Center and for parking.

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