County Commission, neighbors of proposed sports park want to see more details.
The requested rezoning of 40 acres in southeastern Marion County to accommodate a planned sports complex has been put on hold until more details about the development can be provided.
During Monday’s meeting of the County Commission in Palmyra the commissioners voted unanimously to table the rezoning request of the property, located near County Road 429 and adjacent to the Norwoods development, until property owner Lois Damron can provide some sort of drawings that show the layout of the planned ballfields, soccer field(s) and a building that would house batting cages.
“I’d like to see something on paper, a conceptual drawing of where things will sit and what they will look like,” said Eastern District Commissioner Larry Welch.
“I respect your right to do what you want with your own property,” said Western District Commissioner Steve Begley. “But before we make a decision we’d like to see something drawn up. We want more than an obscure idea.”
Damron is requesting a rezoning of the property from agriculture to commercial, which Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode noted would open the site up to “any type of commercial development.”
The proposal came before the County Commission with the endorsement of the county’s Planning and Zoning Committee, which recently approved the request on a 4-3 vote with one abstention. In recommending the rezoning Planning and Zoning Committee members added a stipulation that the commercial site be used for recreation use only, which would disallow any type of business that might fall under the commercial heading.
“If we do it for recreational purposes only, in the event they want to do something different on the property they would have to come back and go through the whole (rezoning) process (again) and upgrade their commercial zoning,” said Bode.
Even the recreational use stipulation didn’t provide residents of the neighborhood with much comfort.
“Recreational is a very broad term,” said Mark Jarman, asking if such a designation would open the door to “four-wheelers or go-carts.”
Repeatedly neighbors who addressed the commissioners sought specifics on the project.
“If you show us the location (of fields and the building) it might soften our feelings toward it (complex),” said Bob Lewton, adding as of Monday he was not in favor of the project.
While Damron promised to provide a layout on paper of “what’s in my mind,” opponents of the complex requested more. One woman requested an environmental impact study be done since a stream flows through the property. Another person suggested that an engineer should be hired to draw up the plans.
Bode said he would be satisfied with a “basic blueprint” of the complex’s design, but added the “more information the better.”
The matter will next come before the County Commission at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 17, when a drawing and more details will be provided. The matter would then come up for final consideration at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 1. Both meetings will take place at the courthouse in Palmyra.
“This has been a long process and something that needed a lot of consideration. It’s something we haven’t taken lightly,” said Bode. “We’ve been looking at it and trying to figure out what’s best the neighborhood, the owner and also for Marion County.”
Reach reporter Danny Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org