Heath Springs counil acted on bad info?

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By Johnathan Ryan

HEATH SPRINGS – A Heath Springs man appealed to Town Council on Tuesday night to cast another vote for his rezoning request.

Last month, the Heath Springs council denied Howard Martin Jr.'s request for a zoning change from R-15 classification to R-30. The zoning change would allow him to place a mobile home on the part of his property that lies within the town. Part of his property is outside the town.

Only two places in Heath Springs have the zoning designation that allows mobile homes – Caskey Circle and East Street. Martin's property is at Hart Street Extension

The Lancaster County Planning Commission recommended approval of Martin's rezoning request, but a petition had been circulated by Martin's neighbors this fall asking Heath Springs Town Council to deny the rezoning request.

It appears, however, that residential opposition was based on a misplaced fear. Rumor had circulated that Martin was planning to build a turkey barn if his property was rezoned to R-30.

Mayor Ann Taylor said last month that council's vote to deny the rezoning request was based on the amount of opposition to the request.

Martin took aim at those who signed the petition opposing his rezoning request Tuesday.

"They (those who signed the petition) were misinformed and lied to," Martin said.

Even if the R-30 zoning classification allowed for a turkey barn, Heath Springs town ordinance prohibits them within town limits, and the property would not qualify for a turkey barn under state regulations.

"All I want is a bigger and nicer house for my family," Martin said.

Martin held up a petition of his own Tuesday that supports his rezoning request. He said it contains many of the names that appeared on the first petition in opposition to his request.

Neighbor Charles Harris attended Tuesday's meeting in support of Martin. He was one of the people who signed the first petition and also signed the one that Martin distributed after he learned there was no way Martin could build a turkey barn on the property.

"I have no problem with it," said Harris, who lives on Harris Street.

Martin asked for another vote Tuesday.

The mayor thanked Martin for appearing before council but didn't say anything else.

She later said there's nothing council can do to reverse its initial vote according to its ordinance.

But as a general rule of thumb, a council member who voted against the initial move could make a motion at the next meeting to vote to reconsider. If the reconsideration measure were approved, it could be voted on at the next meeting, said Lancaster County Planner Penelope G. Karagounis.

Taylor said Martin has another option.

He could place the new mobile home some feet back from where he wanted so it would be situated outside the Heath Springs town limits. That wouldn't amount to a great distance, Taylor said.

Other residents in the area have done that to prevent having to go through a rezoning request with the town, Taylor said.

Contact Johnathan Ryan

at 416-8416

or jryan@thelancasternews.com