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Story Archives: Zoning issue fails; Airport relocation moves forward
|Zoning issue fails; Airport relocation moves forward|
The Winnsboro City Council gave some welcomed news to about 25 opponents of a zoning change and heard welcomed news that the local airport has moved one step closer toward relocation.
Following a public hearing on a requested zoning change from Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative, the council voted not to accept the request. The vote passed with three of the five council members voting and two abstaining.
The vote came after a meeting of approximately 45 minutes which included some emotional pleas from residents along Moore Street, one of the older residential sections of Winnsboro. The issue have been before the council for about three months.
With the room nearly vacated following the vote, council members got word from a city consultant that the Federal Aviation Administration agrees with the city that the local airport should be relocated from its present position southeast of town.
"What this means," said Tony Demarco of an Alexandria engineering firm, "is that we can move to the next step, but we couldn't have gone anywhere without the FAA's agreement."
Winnsboro Mayor Jack Hammons explained the airport is somewhat restricted because is is "boxed in" by municipal wastewater treatment facilities and residential housing.
"The next step will be to look for the land to build another airport," he said.
The council also received positive progress reports on other city projects including a street overlay project, a water line relocation project and several state capital outlay approved projects. All are scheduled for an early spring start.
Franklin Parish Sheriff Steve Pylant served as principal speaker for the Northeast Coop during the public hearing.
He said the company wanted to expand parking and storage space to property owned on Moore Street.
Asked to speak first, Plyant told council members and the audience, "We're presently renting two tennis courts from the First Baptist Church and we're asking for an (zoning designation) extension to include the property that we own.
"We do not plan to use the streets any more than we do now." he also said.
Several residents took issue with the company's announced plans.
Suzanne Mercer said, "We have dedicated 40 years of blood, sweat and tears into this home and will be deeply hurt," by a loss of property value.
Tracy Kaufman, who lives next door to the property in question, said she had consulted a realtor who told her to expect a decline of "up to 35 percent" when zoning changes from residential to business.
Herb Dughit, another neighbor next door to the house which would have been replaced with a parking lot, said, "I'm adamantly opposed to it."
Betty Childs discussed the potential increase in truck traffic and added, "Once it becomes commercial it will become more and more commercial.
Another resident told of having a large truck stuck in her front yard and other expressed environmental concerns as well as noise and general deterioration of the surrounding area should the request be approved.
Alderman Graig Gill introduced the motion to reject the zone change request and was supported by votes from Betty Johnson and John Dumas. Rex McCarthy and Richard Mahoney abstained.