By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously passed an ordinance on final reading this week that makes the Lucy zoning consistent with the city’s districts.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Frankie Dakin and seconded by Alderman Thomas McGhee.
The ordinance was unanimously passed on first reading at the board’s July 11 meeting.
It states that, when the city annexed the Lucy area by referendum on Nov. 6, 2012, Shelby County’s zoning of the area was not changed to be consistent with the Millington Zoning Ordinance and Map.
As recommended by the city’s Planning Commission, the amending ordinance re-zones the Lucy area to districts depicted on a map that was displayed Monday night in the Board Chamber at City Hall.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, said everything that is green on the map will be zoned Agricultural, and the red area on the west side will be Commercial.
“There’s a little Commercial in the heart of Lucy that actually was Industrial before,” he acknowledged. “But we’re keeping it as Commercial.”
While noting that the yellow areas on the map were zoned Residential by the county, he said they are “too small” to be zoned Agricultural without “creating problems” for them in the future.
Goforth said he had “a really good meeting” with the Lucy residents, whom he worked with for several months.
He learned that maintaining the Agricultural zoning will be “best for most everybody.” Under that zoning, residents can have a house with 20,000 square feet where they have sewer service.
Goforth said he met individually with the residents whose parcels will not be zoned Agricultural, because they do not meet the 20,000-square-foot requirement.
“Basically, almost all of the properties met that requirement,” he acknowledged. “The ones that did not we have left as residential zoning, so they wouldn’t be a non-conforming condition.”
During discussion at the July 11 meeting, Dakin asked what will happen if an existing building does not meet the new requirements.
Goforth said the property can be sold, because it was legal under the previous zoning. So, it will remain legal while non-conforming.
But if the owner wants to construct an addition, Goforth said, he will have to meet the new property line setbacks. And if the addition burns, the owner will 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 said, “it would be a great opportunity to build houses on large lots.”
At Monday night’s meeting, Goforth expressed appreciation to the Lucy residents for their “time and help.”
“We tried our best to work this out to where we had agreement, and I think we’ve done that,” he concluded. “Everything was handled very well from their end, and I think from the city’s end, too.”