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Trinity rejects rezoning plans

By Ronnie Thomas
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2438

TRINITY — A steady chorus rejecting R-2 and R-3 homes from about 45 Trinity residents overshadowed an impassioned plea to trust the developers from Woody Woodard at Monday's Town Council meeting.

After public hearings on the rezoning of two separate parcels of property, the council sided with the residents.

Developer Kent Hollingsworth asked that 108 acres on the south side of Mountain Home Road, west of Hidden Creek subdivision, be rezoned from R-1 single family low density residential district to R-2 single family medium residential district.

The measure failed by a 3-2 vote. Mayor Vaughn Goodwin and councilmen Mark Brazelton and Tony Jones voted to deny the rezoning. Councilmen Richard Fortson and Richie Sparkman voted to approve. Councilman Bruce Sparkman was absent.

In the other matter, property owner Willard Hill asked the council to rezone 36 acres at Tower Street and Old Alabama 24, west of West Morgan Elementary School, from R-1 to R-3, a patio/garden, townhouse/duplex, multiplex, medium density residential district.

Developers Jason Owens and Jeremiah Frost proposed a planned community of patio homes for that property. The measure died for lack of a motion.

Prior to the vote on the 108-acre site, Councilman Richie Sparkman made a motion to table, to give Hollingsworth the opportunity to restrict the deed to 1,600-square foot homes, as he promised to do. The motion failed by an identical 3-2 vote.

Other than the developers, Woodard, Trinity's Planning Commission chairman, and his wife, Sharon, are the only residents who spoke for approval of either rezoning during the public hearing.

Woodard said he trusted the developers "to do what they say they will do" on both rezonings. Sharon Woodard spoke in favor of smaller R-3 homes.

"Woody and I own five acres, but the upkeep is high," she said. "There will come a time when we can't take care of that property. A gated community would be ideal and affordable for seniors. I see as many hear over 55 as I see younger people. There is a need for less expensive homes."

Woody Woodard said he believes in the right of ownership and affordable housing.

"These (developers) are honorable men," he said.

He then asked the audience, "Am I hearing that you want to eliminate R-2 and R-3?" Residents met the question with a resounding "yes" and applause.

Goodwin said Trinity officials want to grow the town in a controllable manner and "to be fair about it. We can't be turning everyone down who comes to Trinity to develop."

Goodwin said the Planning Commission "needs to go back and redefine zoning for R-1, R-2 and R-3. Right now, it's too wide open. Basically, what I'm hearing from the public is everyone is concerned about smaller homes."

Hill, who said he gave Trinity a reduced price for the property the elementary school sits on, believes the R-3 development would be something citizens could be proud of, and that it would keep the property from eroding.

But Ron Maloof, who formerly served on the Planning Commission, said developers "want citizens to reinforce their speculations."

Resident George Harris said R-2 and R-3 rezoning "would open the floodgates" for housing Trinity doesn't want or need.

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