Garner: Opinion

Editorial: Protecting the future

Sondra Hamlin wants to rezone some property she owns. Her sisters, who own property next door don’t want to. They shouldn’t have to worry.

Hamlin wants to rezone 4.4 acres of land she inherited that was part of a larger tract of land. Her sisters now own the remainder of the property and they are concerned that, if their sister’s land is rezoned, theirs might be next.

The town’s planning director has said the town would prefer to see all the land rezoned, and that’s understandable. But the sisters should not have to worry that a change in zoning for their sister’s property portends an automatic change to theirs.

To be sure, this is no family spat. Hamlin’s sisters don’t mind one bit if she has her property rezoned. They are simply looking for assurances that such a change won’t spill over to their property.

Changing the land use zoning from its current state as industrial property to the proposed state, residential property, would result in lower property values, meaning if Hamlin tried to sell her land, it would fetch less on the open market.

Hamlin has said she doesn’t plan to sell the property and she goes on to say that the change in zoning is an effort to make the land useful to her own heirs, should they ever want to build homes on it.

If the sisters’ properties were also rezoned they would, in fact, see their property values diminished. That’s what they are trying to avoid.

Councilman Buck Kennedy tried to assure the sisters at a meeting last month that the sisters shouldn’t have to worry about it.

And, he’s most likely right. Situated near the ConAgra site on Jones Sausage Road, much of the property in the neighborhood is or was home to industrial concerns already. If the change Hamlin seeks is approved, it would actually become something of an outlier. The sisters’ tracts would conform more closely to neighboring land uses.

That means the real decision council should be making is whether to allow Hamlin’s change to go through – not because it could adversely affect her sisters, but because it would mean creating a land use that is far different than most of the land around it.