Samburg mayor, store owner at odds over zoning variance

Samburg mayor, store owner at odds over zoning variance
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A request for a zoning variance that would have allowed Nick Moore to set up his RV next to his convenience store in Samburg has been denied by the Samburg mayor and board of aldermen.
The decision was reached following a heated discussion Monday night and it is likely the issue is headed to court.
Moore recently bought Kelly’s One Stop from Buford Kelly and has renamed the convenience store Moore’s One Stop. The convenience store is located at the corner of Highway 22 and Reelfoot Avenue on the north side of town.
Moore, of Adamsville, pleaded with the board to allow him to park his RV on a concrete pad he has installed next to his store. He explained he would like to use his RV to live in while he is in town.
However, Moore and Samburg Mayor Larry Gene Davis argued over a variance request that was denied by Davis.
Davis pointed out that despite being told in mid-October not to proceed with his plans, Moore poured a concrete pad and continued with his plans to set up his RV next to his store.
“The ordinance says he can’t do it. That’s where I stand on it,” Davis said.
Moore argued that he needs the RV to live in while he is working on his store.
“We’re trying to clean it up and make it look nice,” Moore said about his store and the two lots he has purchased. “We plan on growing.”
Moore admitted he was not aware of the city ordinance dealing with RVs (a 2008 amendment to the city’s “travel trailer” ordinance), but said he has tried to work with city officials to come up with a solution.
“All I need to do is … I want to come check on my business,” he said.
At the heart of the controversy is the fact that the lots Moore owns are zoned commercial, and a variance would have to be approved to allow for a travel trailer. Moore has also asked for utility extensions to the lot for his RV, which is currently parked at a residence on Glass Road south of town.
Moore and members of the board went back and forth discussing his request, but Davis stood his ground in opposition to the request.
Samburg city attorney Pam Vawter of Milan joined in the debate by explaining there are three provisions in the city ordinance that must be satisfied before a variance can be approved. With that, board member Johnnie Johnson made a motion to grant Moore’s variance request, but his motion died for lack of a second.
The debate over Moore’s request took up half of Monday night’s hour-long meeting, during which tempers flared between Moore and Davis. At one point during the meeting, Moore referred to Davis as a liar and — as he stormed out of the meeting — he looked back at the mayor and said, “You lied to me … you’re shady and underhanded.”
In other action during Monday night’s meeting, the board:
• Approved spending $1,250 from the city’s tourism fund to buy 5,000 tourist bags that will be used at upcoming trade shows. The board was told the city has $10,552 in its tourism fund.
In a related matter, the board approved a recommendation from Johnson to appoint Ron Dyer to the Samburg Tourism Council.
• Was told by board member Eddie Fickle he is meeting with officials from Gibson Electric Membership Corp. concerning the removal and relocation of some of the street lights around town. There apparently is some confusion over the costs involved with the project.
• Approved spending $1,500 for a city street engineering study by L.I. Smith & Associates of Paris. As part of the study, the Paris firm will provide the board with an aerial map identifying proposed repairs to streets in town.
• Approved a $185 bid from the Lake County High School’s vocational program to create and install a new entrance sign for the city.
• Briefly discussed a proposal from board member Juni Fickle to establish job descriptions for all city workers. The proposal was tabled and will be brought back up at next month’s meeting.
• Approved a rate structure resolution for the city’s garbage collection. The new ordinance clearly establishes what properties are considered commercial, which requires them to have a small dumpster.
Monday night’s meeting was the final meeting for Johnson, who did not run for re-election.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.7.12

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