City Board October 2019 meeting: A proposal to rezone land bounded by Interstate 22 and Highway 15 drew considerable attention at the City Board Oct. 1 meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen.
The land, which lies north of I-22 and east of Highway 15, is owned by Ray Tune. The land is currently zoned residential (R-2) and Tune wants it rezoned for commercial (C-3) use.
Representing Tune before the alderman was New Albany attorney John W. Haynes, IV. Ronnie Parker, a friend and business associate of Tune, and realtor Tom Wiseman also appeared on Tune’s behalf.
Wiseman had appeared before the board about a year ago regarding re-zoning of the Tune property, but apparently no specific written proposal for rezoning was ever made.
Haynes and Parker told the board that Tune is terminally ill and urged the board to expedite the rezoning.
First Ward Alderwoman Amy Livingston said the city is already working on a comprehensive new building and zoning code. She said she is opposed to granting the request until the new code could be in place. Fourth Ward Alderman Will Tucker, in whose ward the Tune land lies, said he opposed the rezoning because people living in the area did not want it.
Mayor Tim Kent said Bob Barber, the consultant hired by the city, is expected to have a draft of the proposed new city code by November 1. Livingston said Barber had advised that the board should do no re-zoning until the new code is in place.
Sarah Mattox, who lives in the home she owns near the tract proposed for C-3 zoning, told the aldermen, she feared the impact that rezoning would have on her property.
Haynes and Parker said they believe the board should act speedily on the request, because Tune has stage four cancer and is expected to die soon. Haynes had implied that court action might be taken if the aldermen did not speedily change the zoning.
This brought a sharp rebuke from Ward Three Alderman Kevin Dale White who told Haynes and Parker that “only God knows” when Tune may die and that he resented the attempt to pressure the board into premature re-zoning based on that assertion.
On the advice of City Attorney Regan Russell, the board formulated a motion to deny the zoning request at this time, but to reconsider it in the future. The motion passed on a 4 – 0 vote, with Alderman-at-Large Keith Conlee not present.
Although it was not an agenda item, NAnewsweb.com readers may be interested to know that Livingston indicated during the zoning discussion that she would not seek re-election in 2021. “I am a one termer, by the way,” Livingston said. This affirms rumors that have circulated for some time that Alderwoman Livingston would not run again for the Ward One seat.
Zack Stewart made a personal appearance before the board to object to tax money being spent to maintain private property. Stewart referred to the cemetery on East Bankhead Street that lies immediately west of Highway 15. Private developers have sold burial plots on the land for nearly a century, perhaps longer, but have failed to fund a means to mow and otherwise maintain the large graveyard. Thus, the expense has fallen to the taxpayers of New Albany, and now amounts to about $50,000 per year. The board took no action regarding the problem Stewart described.
Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson observed that there are some rough spots in the pavement of the recently widened and re-paved Coulter Drive.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen will be on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
New Albany planning project: https://www.nemiss.news/new-albany-next-planning-week-scheduled/cemetery upkeep, Coulter Drive project, New Albany Board of Aldermen, New Albany MS, zoning