Line/Martindale location denied for low-income, disabled duplexes
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Jun 30, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill Curly and Pennyroyal Mental Health Center will have to find another spot for low income and disabled duplexes that were proposed to be built on Line Street and Martindale Drive.

At its evening meeting last Tuesday, the Cadiz-Trigg County Planning Commission unanimously decided not to rezone that area of land from R-1 to R-2, which would have allowed the duplexes to be built on that particular tract of land.

The commission decided this after a 45-minute public hearing, wherein they heard from about two dozen residents of the area surrounding the tract of land. Among those in attendance were Lennus Redd and Cadiz City Council Members Regina Jasper and Susan Bryant.

At the meeting Curly took a few minutes to propose a set of three duplexes with two-bedroom apartments that would house low-income people as well as those with disabilities. While he wouldn’t assert with full confidence that Trigg Countians would live in those apartments, he did say that similar units in surrounding counties have thus far housed local people.

Many of those in the audience said the land is currently owned by Cadiz Mayor Lyn Bailey. Some also said they had heard the development was going to be a halfway house, which Curly denied.

“This development will be nothing of the sort,” said Curly. “Our goal is to be a good neighbor. To do that, we need to listen to what you have to say.”

Other audience members said that tract of land has been used as a dumping site for materials from the construction of a county building. Planning commissioners told them that the dumping issue would be one that should be taken up with the county.

Brame and other planning commissioners also said that they didn’t know if the land was owned by Bailey, as they hadn’t been informed of that one way or another. Curly indicated that the land he has an option on is owned by Bailey or Bailey’s family.

Bailey, who wasn’t at the meeting, later told the Cadiz Record that the land was indeed his, and had been owned by his sons before it was deeded to him, and also said he didn’t think it was a conflict of interest.

Bailey added that concrete from the construction of the Trigg County Justice Center had been cleaned and put on that land to level it out.

Tausha Ware, one of the audience members, said that she and others in the community were concerned about possibly living next to people that might be mentally unstable, and asked Curly if he had looked at other spots in the city and county.

Ware and others also expressed concerns that the housing project would lead to an increase in crime in the area.

“I’m just trying to figure out, what’s the significance to bringing your project to that piece of land,” Ware asked Curly.

Although a notice was supposed to have been sent out to those with property directly adjacent to the tract of land in question, more than one audience member said they had received no such notice.

Planning commissioners admitted that this could have happened, and Brame later said that it was possible that although the current owners could have inherited that land from a relative, the notice might have been addressed to the late relative and could have ended up in the dead letter office.

Planning Commissioner Lucas Chestnut told the audience that while he owns several apartments in the county, he came into the hearing with an open, objective mind about the matter. He also asked if there was anyone in the audience who was for the development, and with the exception of Curly no one raised their hand.

When Planning Commissioner Brian Futtrell, also the principal at the Trigg County Intermediate School, said he agreed with the concerns of the audience, they clapped, and when the commission unanimously rejected Curly’s proposal, the audience again erupted in applause.

At the end of the public hearing, Brame, Chestnut and others thanked the audience for coming out and participating and then turned to unrelated planning commission business.

Although Curly could find another tract of land for his housing units, Planning Commission Chairman Bob Brame later told the Cadiz Record he thinks the proposal is “dead in the water” for a variety of reasons.

In Brame’s opinion, Curly didn’t do a good enough job of answering the audience’s questions, especially as he couldn’t give them a 100-percent assurance that the people in those duplexes would come from Trigg County. Brame also said that rumors that it was to be a half-way house “poisoned the well” as far as community acceptance was concerned.

However, Brame said that at a cursor glance, Curly’s proposal looked solid, and added that if Curly’s engineers said the housing units looked sound that they probably were, even though it didn’t get to the point where Frank Williams, the planning commission’s engineer, could look at the plans.

“This community needs low-income housing,” said Brame.

Earlier in the meeting, the commission had unanimously agreed to give a tentative approval to the wastewater plan for the proposed housing development, approval that would depend on Williams giving it the okay.

Bailey said that while those in attedance “had every right to object,” he thought it was a shame that the project will probably not come to fruition.
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