Rezoning concerns in WM raised
Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:29 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
The issue of a property rezone was brought up again in Woodland Mills as a local resident expressed her concerns with the decision.
Taunda Bellamy said she was attending the meeting Tuesday night to seek answers as to why the board decided to rezone property to a commercial zone in the Mount Herman area, where the majority of residents are African-American, and denied a commercial rezone for property on Cannon Moore Drive, where it’s predominately white.
She told the board she is not at ease with the decision for the rezone, especially since the majority of the people in the Mount Herman community disagreed with the rezone and voiced their opinions during a meeting of the zoning commission, of which Ms. Bellamy is a member. She said very few people showed up and voiced their concerns about the Cannon Moore Drive property.
She said it could be considered discrimination. “It just doesn’t seem right. … I think things need to be looked into a little closer. To me, it is borderline discrimination.”
Ms. Bellamy said she read in The Messenger where Mayor Wade Carrington had been quoted as being for companies, as well as the people of Woodland Mills. And, if that was the case, she asked why the board would not have rezoned both properties. “How can you bring one company in and leave one company out?” she asked, adding the decision is dividing the city.
Carrington responded during that meeting his statement was that the city had gone to bat for the residents of Mount Herman, trying for several years before obtaining a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for rehabilitation of several homes there. He said that business was already established, with land across the street, and it wanted to expand.
Alderman Waymon Reagan added the lots in the Mount Herman area adjacent to the affected property were already zoned commercial, unlike the property on Cannon Moore Drive, where the only commercial property is located across the street. He said if the property requested for rezone had been located across the street from Cannon Moore Drive, it probably would have been rezoned.
Reagan told Ms. Bellamy he voted against the rezone in the Mount Herman area, but should have voted for it because he should have supported the decision made by the city’s zoning commission.
The zoning commission was the group which recommended the rezone of the Mount Herman property. It did not recommend the rezone of the Cannon Moore Drive property, so it never came before the mayor and board of aldermen for a vote.
Reagan said the building will be nicer than what is located there now and the owner will keep it neat and clean.
“I heard what you are saying. I don’t agree. I don’t approve,” Ms. Bellamy said.
Ms. Bellamy also questioned why an African-American was not considered for an alderman’s seat when it was opened by the resignation of Kirk Snead, who moved outside the city limits. Carrington said it is at his discretion whom to appoint when an opening occurs. He added he appointed alderman Tom Menees, who then won an election for the open seat. He said anyone could have run against Menees at that time.
City maintenance employee Perry Carr told Ms. Bellamy that Menees was attending the meetings at the time of Snead’s resignation and he was already serving as the city’s emergency management representative.
Reagan added that during the election, Menees received a vote from all but two people who cast their ballots in Woodland Mills.
Published in The Messenger 2.23.11