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by Patty Cheffey
With a 3-0 vote, the Marion County Commission approved the recommendation from planning and zoning and denied an application to rezone agriculture land to commercial for a paintball business.
Matt Courtney and his attorney, James Lemons, were present at Monday’s meeting to hear the vote, which Lemons said he was confused by when he had been told earlier by the county commission to go back to planning and zoning with Courtney to work out a solution with the neighbors.
However, upon the advice of their attorney, Luke Bryant, the commissioners said they needed to vote yay or nay on the original recommendation before suggesting Courtney go back to planning and zoning.
Planning and zoning had originally made their recommendation Feb. 28, and the commissioners had been meeting with Courtney and his attorney at subsequent county commission meeting concerning the issue.
In stating his confusion over the matter, Lemons again reiterated that while he believed the neighbors concerns should be taken into account, he also felt his client was due a “best use of the land” decision.
“The neighbors’ concern should not be the deciding factor,” he said. “I believe the commission should talk again to your legal counsel. I think Mr. Courtney is entitled to a rezoning.”
Lemons said he also wondered if with all of the time and funds Courtney has already expended, if pursing the matter was worth his time.
“If you are going to look at it again with open eyes, it could be worth it,” Lemons said. “I’m just puzzled why we need to go back when we are complying with your instructions to develop a plan.”
The commissioners assured him it was formality and Courtney is welcome to return to planning and zoning.
Following the vote, Susan Gard, a member of the Marion County Planning and Zoning Commission, stated Courtney had originally had the option to come to the county commission, following the recommendation to deny by the planning and zoning commission, with a play, and he did not.
“I feel we looked at this openly,” she said. “We wanted him to make sure anything with his plan was in the best interest of the community.”
In other business, Teya Stice, county improvement coordinator, reported on carpeting and other work in the Palmyra Courthouse courtroom.
Since Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd wants to keep the law books, Stice said if the commissioners approve she will get a cost estimate from Brown and Sons to box up the books and move the bookcases to lay carpeting in those rooms before carpeting is laid in the courtroom. The commissioners approved her getting that estimate.
They also approved having Stice pursue purchasing new chairs for the jury room, and she said she is waiting to hear back from the judge on a style she likes.
They also asked her to get costs for recaning some of the chairs in the courtroom as well as refinish the jury room table.
The commission also approved submitting a reimbursement for construction inspection work by Poepping, Stone, Bach and Associates for $2,960.
They also approved a request from Judge Bringer Shepherd to purchase a vehicle for the juvenile center, with Marion County’s portion of the cost being around $15,100. The amount is included in the budget.
In addition, the commissioners reviewed sales tax, which was up for both regular funds and for local use, and fund balances, which are in good shape.
Sales tax for April 2021 was $212,482.93, compared to $157,658.35 for April 2021 for General Revenue.
Local Use is $93,579.07 for April 2022, compared to $68,282.53 in 2021.