Premium property debated

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2007

A request to subdivide property located between Gamble Street and Hwy. 10 West brought several residents from the Woodland Heights subdivision before the Greenville Planning Commission.

The Commission heard a request by Calvin Poole, who was representing Jeanette Hester. He asked for the Commission to approve the subdivision of her property, approximately 13 acres of 89 acres she owns. The property would eventually be developed by Fort Dale Academy for the construction of a new sports complex. As Chairman Richard Branum said, it seemed like a simple request.

However, Tommy Gilbert, a resident of Woodland Heights, addressed the Commission and said he felt like he was caught between a rock and hard place.

&#8220They could set up a ball field right at my back door,” he said.

&#8220The privacy issue is something that needs to be considered.”

He also told the Commission is not opposed to FDA building its complex, but he would like more of a buffer zone between his property and the possible construction of the sports arena. He said anyone living in the neighborhood needs to know that a new ball field is going in there.

&#8220That's a premium piece of property,” he said.

&#8220I could have balls flying into my backyard and one day there will be lights there too.”

Poole told the Commission that he was simply representing the Hester family and that he did not know of a hard and fast plan for the sports complex. He also said Gilbert's concerns and the concerns of others were something they were in tune to.

&#8220Our committee has all along worked to keep this from being a problem,” he said.

He went on to explain that traffic would not be an issue due to a new private drive that will be gated, and only open for sporting events.

Dr. Thomas Smith also addressed the Commission as a resident of the Woodland Heights subdivision. He told the Commission if they lived in the subdivision, they would have concerns as well. He added he did not believe that free will to do whatever with the property should be granted to Fort Dale.

Commission member Sue Arnold responded the Commission was addressing the issue of subdividing the property, and not the plans of the Butler County Private School Association or a Fort Dale Academy issue.

When asked what the plans were after subdividing the land, Poole said they were not prepared to give a plan at that time.

After all was said and done, the issue to subdivide the land was tabled until next month's meeting. All but Arnold voted to table the item, while Dr. Aubrey Stabler abstained.

In those 30 days, Chairman Branum told Poole to meet with those who had concerned and see if a settlement could be reached.

Arnold expressed her dismay over tabling the item due to the first issue they addressed. In that issue, William and Eloise Poole came before the Commission to ask to subdivide property at the corner of the Luverne Highway and Norman Road.

The Commission approved that subdivision and after the issue with the Hester property was tabled, Arnold said she did not understand how they could give their permission to one property owner and not another.

The issue will be addressed again at the September meeting.

City Inspector Eddie Anderson reported to the Commission on various building projects in the city. He said the construction company will turn over the new Dave's Catfish House to the owners in approximately three weeks. The strip mall center next door will be complete in six weeks. He reported that El Rodeo is 80 percent complete while the new Dollar General is 90 percent complete.

The Commission also gave its approval for a development plan presented by Sam Skipper. He has been hired to build the new office complex for Dr. Shekar on Paul Stabler Drive. The building will be brick veneer.

The next meeting of the Commission was rescheduled to Labor Day. The new meeting date is Monday, Sept. XX, 2007 in the Council Chambers.