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Rainbow Gap residents upset with rezoning request

By By Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
A large number of people walked out of the recent Madison Planning Commission meeting when it became apparent the zoning issue they came to protest was tabled.
At issue is a request by developer Louis Breland to rezone approximately 4.5 acres adjacent to Rainbow Gap Estates to R-1A, low density residential. The property is currently zoned for agricultural use and is owned by Hilda Wright.
The request to rezone to R-1A would permit the four lots in question to be subdivided into seven lots.
According to Rainbow Gap Estates resident Al Guerra, who spoke on behalf of other residents at the meeting, said proposed residential development on lots smaller that an acre is what the group is protesting.
The rezoning request was tabled until the June 19 planning commission meeting because city attorney Anne-Marie Lacy determined that it was in the city's best interest if she excused herself from representing the city regarding this rezoning request.
Lacy lives adjacent to the property involved in the rezoning request.
The planning commission elected to postpone decision making to allow the city to obtain independent legal advice on the matter.
One of those among the group of Rainbow Gap Estates residents said that they have no objection to residential development of the Wright property.
Linda Ogilvie said rezoning the property to R-1 would be acceptable since it would permit residential development and would preserve the average lot size of one acre.
Guerra came to the commission armed with a detailed document that describes relative restrictive covenants regarding uniformity of the subdivision and detail showing intent to subdivide the four lots into seven 23,000 square feet lots.
The document also contained signatures of residents opposed to the proposed R-1A rezoning.
The Madison County Record was unable to reach Breland for comment.
In other business, the planning commission decided to continue discussion of a proposed resolution amendment regarding pedestrian access regulations into and between subdivisions in Madison.
Huntsville-Madison County Home Builders Association representative Joe Gehrdes told the commission that he had been in touch with the national home builders association to get their opinion on imposing regulations of this nature on residential developers. He said they disagreed with a city imposed ordinance and suggested that pedestrian access should be handled by an organization like the Madison Greenway and Trails, rather than being imposed by the city.
Pro pedestrian access resident Mike Callahan told the commission that delays mean lost opportunities.
"What this gets down to is what constitutes good planning and what doesn't," Commission Chairperson Sandy Kirkindall said.
Discussion will continue at the June 19 planning commission meeting.

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