MPC denies Germantown Road property zoning request again 

Susie Johnson speaks to MPC.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A zoning issue concerning property for sale on Germantown Road and interest by a coalition to place a senior citizens’ housing development there was unanimously voted down again Thursday by Minden Planning Commission.

After MGM developer Jeff Glover filed an appeal over the first commission denial, Minden City Council members remanded it to MPC for “reconsideration and/or clarification.”

The request was to change the zone from R-1 single family dwelling to R-5 multi-family residential. It would’ve allowed the construction of a 50-unit gated retirement community for senior citizens.

Members Michael Davis, JoAnn McWoodson, Sarah Haynes, Morris Busby and Steve Wilson listened as Susie Johnson, whose family owns property bordering the land in question, said the same reasons existed Thursday as when the issue was first broached several months ago.

“We do not want the zoning change,” she said. “We have Savannah Court on one boundary, then we would extend housing units north to the Colony. We do not want it.”

Neither Glover, nor property owner Ronnie Veitch attended the meeting.

Johnson produced documentation stating Veitch had the property divided into five lots.

“It clearly and emphatically states ‘No residential lot or lots shall be re-subdivided with the exception of selling to the adjoining property owner. A total of five homes and no more whatsoever, shall be built in the Germantown subdivision,’” Johnson read.

“It was clearly the intention of Mr. Veitch when he formed the subdivision to maintain the existing zoning as well as the integrity of the neighborhood,” Johnson continued. “Now he wants to have the zoning changed simply to accommodate a sale of his property, totally ignoring the wishes of the surrounding property owners.”

Commissioner Morris Busby made the motion to deny MGM Development’s request, clarifying by saying “Due to the opposition of area residents and the fact that north of that particular piece of property that is requested to be rezoned is already single family homes and not multi-family and the traffic congestion that already exists on Germantown Road, due to the fact that there are two schools in that area, I move we deny the request for changing the zoning.”

Jimbo Yocum, city attorney, said when the council remanded the issue to the commission, the wording “reconsideration and/or clarification” opened the door for MPC to vote again.

“It means they (MPC) had the ability to accept or deny it, as if you are starting from a clean slate,” Yocum said. “In the initial denial, there were a lot of public comments but nothing on the record as to why the commission denied it.”

Yocum said, in his opinion, the appeal’s process will be the same as in the past.

“Since the commission took a renewed action, if MGM wants to appeal, they have to file again,” he said. “Since they reconsidered again, it’s a new denial.”

MGM has 14 days to file a new appeal, however, Glover said paperwork has been sent to Housing and Urban Development on behalf of his client, Coalition for Safe and Affordable Housing.

“I’ve said everything I can say,” Glover said, when he made the decision to stay away from the meeting. “There’s nothing else I can do. The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Housing may want to take it further … in fact, we have sent paperwork to HUD (Housing an Urban Development), but at this point, I’m out of it. I’ve never been treated like this before.

“It’s out of our hands, anyway,” he continued. “It’s up to the coalition if they want to pursue it in the form of a legal matter or if they want to look at different towns to construct it.”

MPC commissioner Steve Wilson asks for a show of hands from the audience as to the persons against the zoning change who live in the area.