During the Madison County Fiscal Court's March 28 meeting, magistrates had a lengthy discussion regarding the advertising of a zoning ordinance on Lexington Road.
Ordinance 2023-02 would rezone the land on 3502 and 3506 Lexington Road from UC-1 Single Family Residence to PUD UC-11 Planned Unit Development.
Planning and Development Director Bert Thomas addressed the court after introducing the ordinance. According to Thomas, neighbors of the property brought up concerns that it was not well advertised.
As per the county's protocols, the public and people who live near areas for proposed land use or zoning changes need to be notified of the proposal and the planning and development meeting that follows via certified mail, signage, and other means at least two weeks before the meeting.
The letter sent out to residents in the area did not come via certified mail, while Thomas does not know why that happened, he said his office would take the blame for the mistake. While the letters were typed up on Feb. 1, Thomas said that some residents did not receive the letter within the required two-week timeframe. There were also complaints the sign used to advertise the change was confusing and the font used was hard to read.
According to Thomas, the planning and development meeting to discuss the proposal was heavily attended. He suggested to magistrates that the fiscal court decide to send the ordinance back to planning and development and start the advertisement process over, or move forward and pass the first reading of the ordinance.
Attorney Walt Ecton represents a group calling itself the "Neighbors for Deliberate Development." The group consisted of people who live adjacent to the addresses of Lexington Road.
"I presented a picture of the letter that one of the property owners attained... It shows that it was mailed first-class and stamped on Feb. 1, but the post office didn't get it until Feb. 13, eight days before the hearing," Ecton said.
According to Ecton, several property owners told him that they felt they had been prejudiced. He added residents did not feel they had enough time to prepare for the planning and development meeting and share their thoughts on the land use change.
The applicant in this proposed ordinance was J.A.R. Development, who was represented by attorney Stuart Ulls. Ulls argued that the planning and development meeting being heavily attended showed that advertisement for the meeting was sufficient and that residents in the area had not been shown prejudice.
Judge Executive Reagan Taylor said he felt sending the ordinance back to planning and development delayed the inevitable, but ultimately voted to send it back alongside all four magistrates.
"In my opinion, I don't think we followed our own procedure in the way we do signage and notification. If we say we're supposed to have certified letters, I don't care what we've been doing, if that's what it says in our documents, then that is what we should do," Magistrate Tom Botkin said.
During the magistrate's report at the end of the meeting, Botkin brought up a report from the Madison County Detention Center that said Narcan was used recently on three inmates.
"What that indicates is we've got drugs in our jail in a controlled environment. I've got a lot of concerns about that. I'm not the jailer – I don't run the jail – but I would like to see our sheriff take the (police) dogs that are available. I'm sure our sheriff would work with our jailer to take dogs over there (and search the jail)," Botkin said.
Lochmueller also supported the idea.
In response, Madison County Sheriff Mike Coyle said he would be happy to have the sheriff's office K9 units periodically sweep the jail as long as Jailer Steve Tussey also supported the idea.
The fiscal court then went through with the discontinuance of North Approach Road and Old Simpson Lane. It came at the request of the owners of the roads.
The monthly treasury report was given by treasurer Glenna Smith at the top of the meeting.
The county’s fund balance as of Feb. 28, 2023, is $36,230,325.73.
General fund revenues are at 86%, with expenditures at 32.4%. Road fund revenues are at 90% and expenditures are at 58.6%. Jail fund revenues are at 82.7% and expenditures are at 63.6%. LGEA fund revenues are at 81.2% and expenditures are at 24.5%.CSEPP fund revenues are at 25.8% and expenditures are at 24.5%. Health fund revenues are at 52.5% and expenditures are at 57.6%.911 fund revenues are at 62% and expenditures are at 56.4%.
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