By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would make the Lucy zoning consistent with the city’s districts.
Board members took the action during their July 11 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Mike Caruthers and seconded by Alderman Chris Ford.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing and final reading at the board’s Aug. 8 meeting.
It states that the city annexed the Lucy area by referendum on Nov. 6, 2012. But it notes that the Shelby County zoning of that area has not been changed to be consistent with the Millington Zoning Ordinance and Map.
As recommended by the city’s Planning Commission, the ordinance would re-zone the Lucy area to districts displayed on an attached Lucy Proposed Zoning Map.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, said he had “a really good meeting” with the Lucy residents, whom he had been working with for the previous six months. He learned that maintaining the Agricultural zoning would be “best for most everybody.”
Under that zoning, Goforth said, residents can have a house with 20,000 square feet where they have sewer service.
“Basically, almost all of the properties met that requirement,” he noted. “The ones that did not we have left as residential zoning, so they wouldn’t be a non-conforming condition.”
Goforth said he has met individually with the residents whose parcels would not be zoned Agricultural, because they do not meet the 20,000-square-foot requirement.
“We’ll have the big map up here when we have the public hearing,” he noted. “And notices will be sent out to the residents again.”
Goforth said the city is “not in a hurry” on this issue, because it has “all this time.”
“We’ll be willing to extend it if there’s some question that comes up,” he said, “because we’re just trying to get it where they’re legal to the Millington zoning.”
During discussion shortly before the vote, Alderman Frankie Dakin asked what would happen if an existing building did not meet the new requirements.
Goforth said the property could be sold, because it was legal under the previous zoning. So, it would remain legal while non-conforming.
But if the owner wanted to construct an addition, Goforth said, he would have to meet the new property line setbacks. And if the addition burned, the owner would have to obtain permission from the Millington Board of Zoning Appeals to rebuild it.
“The idea of a non-conforming use is that you can keep it as long as it stays,” he noted. “But if it fell down, you can’t rebuild it. We’re trying to avoid putting anybody in that type of situation.”
In response to a question by Alderman Hank Hawkins, Goforth said that, under the Agricultural zoning, residents can continue to farm and keep animals such as horses.
“That is not permitted in residential zoning,” he noted. “So, even people who had residentially zoned property asked that we zone their property Agricultural for that purpose.”
Dakin asked whether, compared to surrounding areas, some lots in Lucy are “pretty unique” to be inside a city limits.
Goforth said it is “very similar” to where he lives, on 2.5 acres in the rural Ellendale area of Bartlett. During the past 20 years, he said, quite a bit of large lot development has occurred in that area.
But he acknowledged that, “up to this point,” the sewer in Lucy has not been able to handle that.
“If we ever get the sewer situation straightened out in the Lucy area,” he concluded, “it would be a great opportunity to build houses on large lots.”