Council votes “no” to rezoning after long debate

A request to rezone 3001-3003 Oxford Road from R8 to B2A failed by unanimous vote of the Henderson City Council during their regular short session meeting on June 22, 2009.

However, the relatively routine matter was not without extensive debate, even though the Planning Board had unanimously recommended that the request be denied.

The property, which is adjacent to a church and two cemeteries, consists of 4.33 acres that is currently in non-conforming use as the base of operations for a paving company. The areas around the property are also R8.

When a public hearing on the subject was opened, owner Clay Jackson asked the council for more time “to view more options.”

Neighborhood residents Swanson Dodd and area homeowner’s association president Jim Williams spoke to the council about problems with the property including excessive noise from heavy equipment in the early morning six days a week, dilapidated structures, storage of flammable liquids, and general fire hazard.

Resident Bill Stark asked for a show of hands of council meeting attendees who are opposed to the rezoning. Over twenty Henderson residents and homeowners raised their hands.

After Henderson Mayor Pete O’Geary closed the public hearing, council member Garry Daeke moved to follow the guidance of the Planning Board. Member Mary Emma Evans joined Daeke in wanting to deny the rezoning, stating that she thought that there are other areas in Henderson where the business could locate.

Member Mike Rainey told members that he would “hate to see a piece of property sit there and not be used”. He introduced a substitute motion that the matter be returned to the Planning Board for further study.

A substitute motion is a motion that generally contradicts or fundamentally opposes a motion already on the floor. The vote on a substitute motion is taken first. If the substitute motion passes, the original motion automatically fails. If the substitute motion fails, a vote is then taken on the original motion.

Rainey explained that if the property remained R8 that he did not know if anyone would be willing to develop it to residential specifications. He went on to say that he wanted a solution that would make “everybody happy”.

Member Mike Inscoe noted that if the council rejected the request to rezone the property B2A that it would not preclude the applicant from going back to the Planning Board to ask for another classification.

The substitute motion failed with only Rainey and member Lonnie Davis voting to send the matter back to the planning board.

After the substitute motion, a vote on Daeke’s original motion was taken. All members voted against the rezoning, with Davis voting with an equivocal “yea or nay”.

Since no “yea or nay” voting option exists, Davis’ vote is, in fact, a failure to cast a vote. In keeping with accepted rules of order, such a vote should be recorded as an affirmative vote.