By Randy Bell
As the City of Clinton considers whether to rezone all of its farmland, it’s refusing requests to allow individual pieces of property to be reclassified as agricultural.
Rob Logan’s 143 acres at Williamson Road and Pinehaven Road had been rezoned residential estate (R-E), because the previous owner had planned to build a subdivision there.
“It didn’t get developed,” Logan says. “It went up for sale. We bought it to live on.”
He wants some farm animals, but, with the current R-E zoning, they’re not permitted.
“I can’t have chickens. I can’t have horses. I can’t have ducks or anything like that. So, I want to rezone it back to agricultural.”
The Board has denied his request but is discussing an amendment to R-E zoning to allow farm animals under certain conditions.
Logan’s property adjoins 140 acres to the north along Pinehaven, which was also zoned agricultural before the City annexed the land. Oral Lovett is a cancer patient who’s trying to get permission to have a mobile home delivered to her Lovett Lane property, so her granddaughter could live nearby to take care of her and other elderly relatives. But she says she was never notified that the zoning had changed to R-E, which doesn’t allow mobile homes.
“My granddaughter has already been approved and closed on [the mobile home], and now they tell us it can’t be out there,” Lovett says. “We are in a rural area. One way in, and one way out.” The mobile home would be located at the end of a long private road, not visible from Pinehaven.
Lovett appealed the City’s determination that the mobile home was not allowed, but the Board of Aldermen upheld the decision at its meeting October 18.
Alderwoman at Large Ricki Garrett made the motion to uphold.
“Even though I certainly am sympathetic to this situation, the Board can’t make decisions for the City of Clinton based on individual circumstances,” Garrett said. “As much as we want to help individuals, we can’t set a precedent that would be damaging to the City of Clinton as a whole.”
Ward 3 Alderman Robert Chapman lives near the Lovett property. He told his colleagues that the City needs a new zoning designation for large parcels of land to cover situations like this.
“This could allow them to bring in what they need,” said Chapman.
Garrett believes granting exceptions would open the floodgates for additional requests.
“It’s not like we’re going to have sixty, seventy-five, eighty-five people coming to ask, ‘Hey, can I put a trailer on my property?’ We need to do something to help them out.”