During an unprecedented turn of events, a building contractor worked out concerns with a group of northeast Paris homeowners in advance of a Monday night meeting, and a once controversial zoning request passed Paris City Council unanimously with no opposition.
As a result, a new housing development is planned on an 8-acre tract in the 6500 block of 26th Street NE with a mixture of single family residences and duplexes built on roughly 27 lots.
Councilors also gave final approval to a zoning change request that paves the way for an unidentified quick serve restaurant at 3475 Lamar Ave., to be built on property now owned by the First Assembly of God Church.
The request to change zoning to allow duplexes at the 26th Street NE location drew opposition at an Oct. 5 Planning & Zoning meeting from about a dozen homeowners who voiced concern about duplexes being located directly behind their properties. Planning & Zoning gave unanimous approval to the request, however, and a group of noticeably disappointed homeowners abruptly left the meeting.
In an unexpected move, builder Skyler Burchinal met with the opposition, worked out a compromise to alleviate homeowner concerns, and a couple of residents spoke Monday in favor of the development. Burchinal said he agreed to build a privacy fence, and to provide a 50-foot set-back from homeowner property.
“Buildings will be single story and all will be brick,” Burchinal said of the development financed by Royal Realty and Investments LLC, a group of local investors.
“We sat down for over an hour and a half in a driveway, and he laid out his plans,” homeowner Donna James said. “We felt afterward that he was very open, honest and had the best interest of ourselves and also the people he’s working for.”
Councilors praised both Burchinal and homeowners for reaching an agreement.
“I appreciate that the builder and the community came together,” Renae Stone said. “That says a lot about the people in our community, and I appreciate you, Skyler Burchinal, and the builders for working with the community and listening to their concerns.”
“Is that not unprecedented?” Linda Knox added. “It’s never happened before. Thank you, Mr. Burchinal, and the neighbors. Thank you so much.”
Noting the property is in her district, Paula Portugal said she was prepared to vote against the request if her constituents were still not pleased.
“Thank you for meeting with them halfway,” Portugal said.
In other action, councilors approved a $1.78 million tax note to finance various equipment purchases as well as the refinancing of a 2010 certificate of obligation at an expected savings of $172,950. Liberty National Bank was low bidder on both offerings.
“We like it when the local bank is a participant because they know you better than anybody else,” said Mark McCliney with SAMCO Capital Markets.
The council also adopted an amendment providing a penalty clause to the Vehicles for Hire ordinance, added a new definition for vehicle storage facilities and established resulations, and granted a change in zoning request at 2126 E. Polk to allow a duplex.