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|Zoning request faces opposition|
The City of Winnsboro moved closer this week to a formal public hearing on a rezoning request which is likely to stir a contest between industry and private interests.
A public hearing on a request to change zoning from residential to business in an older section of the city will be held before the regular City Council meeting Monday, Dec. 15 beginning at 5 p.m. in the Winnsboro Court Building.
The city ran the final public notification of the meeting, a legal requirement, in this edition of The Franklin Sun. The notice was the third published by the city.
At issue is a request from Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative to change zoining designation on property it owns at 1604 Moore Street, know as the Anders' Property or "the blue house". The company reportedly wants to create more parking space.
"I wouldn't say there is organized opposition," said Suzanne Mercer who lives at 408 Mason Street and within easy view of the current parking lot on Moore Street.
"But, there is a group of concerned citizens," she added.
"They are mostly anyone living along Moore Street," she said.
The City Council may have gotten a preview of what to expect at the hearing.
At the regular council meeting in November, a group of about six residents appeared at the meeting to object to the proposed rezoning effort. Franklin Parish
Sheriff Steve Pylant, a member of the NLPC board of directors, presented the company's position.
The residents strongly opposed the company's request.
The zone change request had been submitted through the five-person Zoning Board, headed by Kelly Martin. The zoning board retuned the request to the City Council for its approval and a public meeting was scheduled after the council's October meeting.
"All of the very close neighbors are very much opposed," to the zone change, said Mercer, who attended the November meeting with neighbor Betty Childs and husband J. W. Mercer.
"If I'd have been in town, I'd have been there," said Herb Doughit, who lives at 1504 Moore Street.
"We don't want to see our residential area turned into a commercial area," said Mercer.
"Ours is an older, more established neighborhood," she observed.
Property owners in the area also point to the possibility of a loss of property value and noise factors as reasons for opposition.
"I understand there have been several attempts to buy the property from the company, but something always fell through," Doughit said.
"We're really the 'Garden District' of Winnsboro," said Mercer. "Back when Prairie Street was the only commercial area we had, this was a highly respected neighborhood. It should be kept that way."
The city council goes into regular session on Dec. 15 immediately following the public hearing. The council will then either make a decision on the request or ask for more study and delay the decision.