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Development on hold as Planning and Zoning tables discussion

Plat_DebateThe Planning and Zoning Commission decided to postpone action on a plat for property in the 1900 block of Northeast Loop 286 on Monday.

The special session was called to look revisions to a plat that was denied at last week’s Paris City Council meeting. The plat was part of a possible deal for Paris Ford to build a new, larger dealership.

The motion to table any discussion and possible action was made by P&Z member Keith Flowers and seconded by Mike Folmer. The motion carried 3-1 with James Price voting to table and Jerry Akers opposing it. Johnny Lee recused himself, citing a familial relationship to the owner of the current Ford facility.

A special meeting of the City Council had been called for Wednesday, but that session was cancelled Monday as the action by Planning and Zoning meant there would be nothing for the council to discuss.

That did not stop residents of the Hillcrest subdivision from speaking out against the idea of a dealership at the City Council’s meeting Monday.

Virginia Allen reported erosion, road deterioration, snakes, mosquitoes, rats and gnats in addition to flooding and said commercial development would only make the problem worse.

“We have a huge problem regarding the runoff due to rains,” she said. “Many times it’s water from curb to curb.”

FEMA designated the area as a flood plain, and the city should listen, she said.

“I’m asking you to listen to all the people, and not just one elite group,” Allen said. “I know the city has to rely on experts. Could some of the experts be biased?”

Existing drainage is inadequate and improperly maintained, Cyndee Thoms said. More concrete would not help matters.

“Progress with problems is not progress,” she said. “Someone’s blowing a lot of smoke somewhere just to make a buck.”

Although the buyer had a particular use in mind for the property, actual development is a matter for future stages. A plat shows things like easements and flood plains, but the purpose in filing it is to subdivide property for sale, City Manager John Godwin said. The site development plans come later.

“This is not the time to design the drainage, because we don’t know what it’s going to look like,” he said. “That is for the developer to do.”

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