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franklin county times

Zoning debate gets emotional

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
March 21, 2001
Emotions ran on high at Tuesday night's meeting of the Meridian City Council, as citizens debated a rezoning request that would have allowed two elderly mobile home owners to upgrade their homes to double-wides.
Brown and her brother, Ralph Boyd, own 10 acres of property on Newell Road and had been living there in two house trailers for decades before new residential growth began to reshape the area.
The area's zoning code was upgraded several years ago in order to prevent manufactured homes from being placed there. Brown and Boyd's mobile home was grandfathered into the system but city zoning ordinances state no new manufactured homes can be placed on the property.
Dozens of citizens living near Brown's property attended to speak against changing the zoning change. The neighbors said they believe a change in the codes would open the door for other property owners to place house trailers in the area, lowering property values.
Brown said allowing her and her brother to purchase two new trailers wouldn't lower property values.
Brown's appeals to the city council came after the Meridian Planning Commission rejected her request. City council members have been mulling possible solutions to the problem for weeks.
Although Brown's request was also denied by the council 4-0 on Tuesday, council members believe they have a solution to the dilemma a change in the city's zoning ordinances that would make exceptions for mobile home owners grandfathered in under the new, more restrictive ordinances.
The council thinks re-zoning may not be necessary.
They voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow grandfathered-in mobile home owners to upgrade without a zoning code change.
The city's planning commission will hold a public hearing on the matter April 24.
Ward 2 Councilman Mary Perry, whose ward includes Newell Road, said she hopes the remedy will satisfy everyone involved.
In other matters, a public hearing about the proposed closing of an Arundel Road railroad crossing has been set for April 17. The hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.