By Jeri Borst
A rezoning issue that began in 2015 may be appearing before a judge for a summary judgment.
Mena City Attorney, Patrick McDaniel, informed the Mena City Council at a committee meeting earlier this month that he was notified of the property owners intent to file for a summary judgment.
“So the case would be presented to the judge with the facts laid out and would request the judge make a decision,” McDaniel explained. “However, there is an option to come to an agreement between the parties before it appears before the judge. So, if the council would like to negotiate terms, there is an opportunity o negotiate for restrictions.”
City officials have discussed the opportunity with residents in the Rogers Housing Addition, which includes the property in question, owned by Gerald Golden.
Mena Mayor Seth Smith and council members expressed at the September City Council meeting that conversations are on going and residents are bringing ideas to the table.
The summary judgment request ask the property be rezoned as R2. The council is working with residents to come up with restrictions, which may include privacy fence, entrance and exit must be on the highway and not the subdivision drive.
In January 2016 the council confirmed a decision made by the Mena Planning and Zoning Commission and denied a C2 rezoning request.
The Mena Planning and Zoning Commission had previously denied a petition in October 2015 to reclassify the zoning status of the property.
Golden originally asked to rezone the property from an R1 to a C2 so that a VA Clinic could be built. C2 zoning has permitted uses that would allow retail establishments that provide goods or services for the motoring public (such as a convenience store), office buildings, automotive service, repair and storage (such as a salvage yard), motels, tourists courts, day care centers, and more.
Upon hearing of the request, Rogers Addition property owners and residents drafted a petition and circulated it through the neighborhood last September to stop the process, citing noise and traffic brought in by any business would interrupt their normal routines and living environment.
After the request for rezoning the property was halted by the Planning and Zoning Commission, Golden lost his potential buyer and enlisted the help of legal counsel.
However, fears of what type of business a C2 zoning designation would allow was one of many concerns voiced by the packed audience of property owners, especially since the VA clinic is no longer in the picture. Concerns such as: Would there be a guarantee of what type of business could be built on that property? Would the ‘restrictive covenant’ within the Rogers Addition keep a landowner from building something the homeowners didn’t want, such as a convenience store, etc.
An R2 zoning status would limit some of the construction possibilities. Under R2 zoning, permitted uses are: one-family dwellings, two-family dwellings, churches, parks, playgrounds, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, doctor and dental clinics, and day care centers.
Pulse file photo
Residents filled the Mena City Council chamber in July 2018 to express their concerns over rezoning property owned by Gerald Golden, located in Rogers Addition, which is a covenant neighborhood, located off Hwy 71, next to Grace Bible Church.
Pulse Map Graphic
Property owned by Gerald Golden, located in Rogers Addition, which is a covenant neighborhood, is located off Hwy 71, next to Grace Bible Church.