By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – The request by the Archey Development Company for rezoning a tract of land on N. First Ave. in Durant has been denied by the Durant City Council.
In the regular council meeting on Tuesday evening, the council voted 5-0 to deny this request.
At the regular meeting on April 16, the Planning Commission voted 4-0 recommending the request’s denial. Several requests have come to the council also requesting this denial.
The request was to rezone from R-1 (Single-Family Residential District) to R-3 (General Residential District) for the construction of multi-family housing.
Dr. Greg Clay spoke on behalf of the residents of Quail Ridge and Prestonwood, which surround this property and addressed the council to express his concern for the rezoning.
He said Mr. Archey had purchased 15 acres more than a decade ago and wanted to rezone the land for multi-family homes and commercial zoning that would expose the adjacent homeowners to boarding houses, multi-family dwellings, dormitories, manufactured housing, bars and taverns, nightclubs, tattoo studios, dance halls, convenience stores, kennels, bus terminals and hotels.
Clay reminded the council of the decision then to keep this tract of land, which is a buffer between the residents and the R-3 land, zoned as it is. And spoke to the members about Plans, People and Progress.
In regard to plans, he said that Mr. Archey’s plans for assisted living home could change, but the zone would remain. As for people, he said the residents in those additions have invested of themselves in the city itself and are good people.
And in light of progress, he told the council the people who live there were very much for the progress and progress occurs when, ‘the value of all of our property appreciates, not depreciates.’ And reminded the council of the decisions made by King Solomon, to whom God granted a wise and discerning heart.
A letter from an adjacent property owner was also presented to the council prior to the meeting.
“It is our understanding that this plot of land was intended to serve as a gap between our housing additions and any future development, whether commercial or multi-family dwellings. Yes, we do have concerns that such a rezoning classification will decrease the value of our property. Even without this buffer between our neighborhoods, we feel that our property value and peace of mind has already decreased given the apartment complexes that are being built directly behind us.
“Personally, we have already spent quite a bit of money erecting a taller fence and planting numerous trees to obstruct what will likely be a direct view of our backyard and windows from a second story of an apartment complex and also have great concerns regarding noise and safety that may come with this development.
“That said, we have come to realize that it is part of the growth of the city and we understand the need for housing.”
City Attorney Tom Marcum addressed the council to confirm he 150-foot strip of land was established by District Judge Mark Campbell in light of this zoning question a decade ago.