The controversial request for a change of zoning of Wellington Place Subdivision on TGT Road was denied at the Oct. 5 meeting of the City of Portland Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
If approved, the subdivision zoning would have been changed to R10 from R15, which would have allowed for 123 rooftops as opposed to 85.
The vote was tied with Mayor Mike Callis casting the deciding vote of no. Aldermen Jody McDowell, Mike Hall, and Thomas Dillard voted no, while Vice-Mayor John Kerley, Brian Harbin, and Drew Jennings voted yes.
During public recognition several people addressed the council regarding the rezoning - both for and against. Civil Engineer Donald Collins, who was representing Brandon Franks Construction, stated the rezoning was necessary for the developer to do the project because of the requests made by the city to help with drainage problems in nearby neighborhoods and other infrastructures, such as roads and sewer improvements that the city was asking to be done.
Don Fleming, who owns neighboring property on TGT Road, supported the rezoning stating that he was trying to help him (Brandon Franks) get a nice subdivision in the area. He added that he might be interested in developing his adjoining property some day and this would be helpful. He added that today’s families aren’t looking for larger lots.
Nearby property owner Randall Hinton stated that the city was looking at a project that was an oversized project for an undersized area. According to Hinton, the rezoning would cause school traffic congestion on the south and access to Highway 109 on the north. He added that the project would create problems for the city down the road, adding that Franks does not care about Portland and he doesn’t care about the citizens of Portland.
Hinton said, “What he cares about is making a profit and he will be gone. He won’t deal with the problems. Portland will.”
Franks said he was asked to come back to the council in 2018 after an earlier vote did not go in his favor because they wanted to re-look at the project. He worked with the engineer and planning and came up with a solution that he would fix some of the city’s flooding problems and other infrastructure issues and still fix a very nice development and save the city approximately $1 million.
Area residents Trudy Crafton and Randy Gilliam both spoke in opposition to the rezoning. Crafton said that rooftops would not bring restaurants to Portland and added that Portland couldn’t even support a Krystal. Both asked the council to vote no to the change in zoning.
Hall stated that the council had made a commitment and promises and felt that the citizens expect the council to do its best for them.
Callis told The Portland Sun that he voted no because he didn’t want to move forward on the project without a PUD, which is a Planned Unit Development where everybody has to fulfill exactly what the design is. He added his vote was influenced by the facts that the planning commission had denied the request, the council was split, and several citizens had spoken against the rezoning.