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By Michelle Mann firstname.lastname@example.org
The rezoning of part of the Byrd Subdivision was denied by the Enterprise City Council at the meeting
The council voted four in favor of denying the request to rezone the area at Mamie and Baker Streets in
the Byrd Subdivision from residential to townhouses. Councilman Turner Townsend abstained from voting.
The majority vote against the rezone came after nearly one hour of comments against the proposal from
area residents, attorneys representing them and the three people who were in favor of the proposal.
State-mandated COVID-19 created social distancing guidelines limiting the number of people in the
council chamber at any given time that led to many of those against the rezone watching the proceedings
from the city hall entrance area.
Enterprise Council nixes residential rezone | Home | southeastsun.com 6/22/20, 6:28 PM
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At issue was a proposed rezone approved by the Enterprise Planning Commission after a meeting April 28
of the land from residential homes to a townhouse district.
Attorney Terry Ellis, representing homeowners opposing the rezone, said that the April 28 public hearing
before the planning commission was limited in attendance by Byrd Subdivision residents because of the
state mandated shutdowns created by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The majority of the occupants of Byrd
Subdivision are in the upper age group at higher risk and most made the decision to not attend the
meeting out in the public and only a few attended.
“It was at that meeting that the zoning ordinance amendment petitioner began to disclose the
developer’s intention not to build customary townhouses, but to chop up the existing lots into smaller lots
of four or five where one or two lots previously existed and to change the current zoning, calling them
‘detached townhouses,’” Ellis said. “This became a game changer.”
“The staff of the planning commission was trying to assure those in attendance, as well as those calling
on the phone seeking information after the meeting, that the rezoning request was good for the
“The interim director (of the city Department of Engineering Services) directed them to a development off
the bypass known as the Cottages at Woodland Park to see for themselves what was being planned,” Ellis
said. “She said (the proposed construction) would be ‘nice.’
“The Planning Commission was led to believe and led us to believe what was built in the Cottages was
intended for Mamie Street,” Ellis said. “However, when representatives of the developer were contacted
directly, we were directed to Cody Drive to see what was actually intended.”
Ellis showed photographs of the Cody Drive residences to the council which included less than five feet of
separation from eave to eave of each house. “There is more separation in a mobile home park than what
is proposed for Mamie Street. There is more separation in a RV campground than what is proposed for
“We now know that the size of lots and yards are not what was represented to the planning commission,”
Ellis said. “The developer has said that the market for these homes is young families with young children.
Where will the children play? Inside the house and in the street? Because there is no yard.”
“This is not just about old people who are opposed to change of any kind,” said Byrd Subdivision resident
Phil Thomas, who said he has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. “This is not just about somebody
who wants to build a house that’s a little bit different.
“This is about somebody who wants to come into our neighborhood, make a quick profit putting up
property that’s not going to live in our neighborhood,” said Thomas, who was one of seven residents of
the neighborhood who addressed the council. “This is exactly what zoning ordinances were designed to
prevent. There could not be a more incompatible structure to our neighborhood than the ones that are
being proposed here today.
“Every lot in our neighborhood has no more than one home on a lot. Some homes are on two lots,”
Thomas said, adding that the developers propose to put four or five homes on one lot. “Nine families on
what is now two contiguous lots,” he said.
Attorney Merrill Shirley, also representing the residents of the Byrd Subdivision, told the council that
passage of the rezoning ordinance at 101 Mamie Street would be “a grave and drastic change” for the
subdivision and said there is a petition signed by the neighborhood residents against the proposed
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“The law tells us very clearly that once you get your plan and before it gets passed, you have to go to a
concerted effort of making certain that your plan is guiding and accomplishing a coordinated, justified
harmonious development that must promote health, safety, morals, order, convenience and prosperity,”
Shirley said reading from Page 18 of the city zoning ordinance dated June 2012. “I submit to you that to
pass this motion goes contrary to (the zoning ordinance), it goes contrary to what the people who have
built their homes, raised their families, maintained their property expected when they moved out there.
“Nine structures going on three lots when at the present, erection of homes is either one home to one lot
or a couple of lots,” Shirley said. ‘It’s a grave and drastic change.
“I submit to you the change that’s being requested would be totally against what you, the city, has told
the people of Byrd Subdivision, what everyone has been told—that if you want to move there that we will
preserve it,” he added. “As I tell my children, there are none so blind as those who will not see.”
The council voted 4-0 against the rezoning request, with Council Member Turner Townsend recusing
himself from the vote.
The next meeting of the Enterprise City Council is Tuesday, June 16, in the Enterprise City Hall Council
Chambers. A work session begins at 5 p.m. and a voting meeting begins at 6 p.m. Both meetings are
open to the public.
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