The Midway city council approved changing 18.6 acres of Rural Residential (RR) property to Agriculture (AG) use at last week’s meeting.
The property, under the RR land use, allowed one house per acre with septic tanks. The AG land use allows one house per five acres, which means a total of no more than three lots on the property.
It was explained during the meeting that the change would allow horses to be kept on the property.
Developer Lex Thompson presented the request to the council concerning the property, which is owned by Henry Dover.
The city uses Spectra Engineering and Research for its planning and zoning issues and Peter Okonkwo presented the land change to the council, saying that the city’s planning and zoning board approved the change at their meeting.
The land change stipulated that there be a 100-foot buffer between a nearby home and any horses.
Another stipulation required that there be no more than eight horses allowed on the 18.6 acres.
The vote was 5-0 with council member Charlie Smith absent from the meeting and council member Charles Willis abstaining, saying that he was buying property from Lex Thompson.
In other business:
• The council will be looking at raising permitting fees after hearing a presentation by county building inspector Clyde Collins.
According to Collins, Midway charges about half of what other cities and the county charge for permitting.
Collins said that it was a way for the city to provide funding for a building department which is now being contracted out to Spectra Engineering.
At the encouragement of council member Willis, the council asked that staff bring information back for its March workshop on possible new fees.
• In a related issue, the council discussed a proposal by interim city manager Dorothy Inman-Johnson to contract with Gadsden County for planning and zoning.
The proposal, she explained, would allow the county’s planning and zoning department to review applications based on Midway’s ordinances and zoning requirements using their staff.
The charges for the services would be billed monthly with a cap not to exceed $23,500 for the remaining nine months of the 2014 budget.
After a lengthy discussion, council member Delores Madison made a motion for the mayor, city manager and city attorney to review the agreement and bring back their recommendation at February’s meeting.
The motion passed 6-1, with council member Allean Robinson voting against the measure.