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Rezoning petitions, resolutions top Liberty BOC agenda
The Liberty County Board of Commissioners proclaimed March 13 – 17 small business week in Liberty County. - photo by Asha Gilbert

A rezoning petition on Leroy Coffer Highway pinned neighbor against neighbor at the Liberty County Board of Commissioners regular meeting on Tuesday. The application filed by Ted Eby, was to rezone 1.45 acres of land from AR-1 (agricultural residential district) to B-2 (General Commercial District).

The petition presented by Alan Seifert from the Liberty County Planning Consolidation, showed the location of the area right before the curve on Leroy Coffer Highway that leads to Highway 84. The owner had a conceptual plan of putting a commercial office at the property for his business.  

The LCPC recommended disapproval of the petition mainly due to the adjacent residential property owner in opposition of the rezoning.  John and Willa Lewis, the owners to the north and west of the property, supported Eby’s petition under certain conditions.

“He assured me he wouldn’t put a gas station or junk yard there,” John Lewis said. “As the commissioner said there is a lot of commercial coming in that direction, and I think it would be a benefit to the area and Mr. Eby is trying to enrich the community.”

The adjacent property owner, Vernie Luckey, opposed the petition due to wanting to keep the area residential and not having another business like Silver Dollar Lounge which is located in the same area. 

“The silver dollar is a strip club and I didn’t know about the rezoning when they were going to put that there,” Vernie Luckey’s daughter Valerie Luckey-Merrit said. “I am a lifelong resident of Liberty County and that is my grandmother’s homestead. I’m in opposition of it because Mr. Eby isn’t putting the business where he lives.”

The commissioners discussed if there could be special conditions set in place to the rezoning petition with Liberty County Attorney Kelly Davis. 

“As part of a rezoning request you can impose reasonable conditions that are intended to address the concerns of neighboring land owners,” Davis said. “If you wanted to limit if to office use, you can.”

The commissioners approved the rezoning the petition and District 2 Commissioner Justin Frasier made a statement about the direction Liberty County is heading.

“In Liberty County we only have a certain amount of land but then it’s also 2019 and we don’t have a choice but to grow,” Frasier said. “Liberty County is growing every day and we have to be conscious of land owners and also have to be conscious of the growth.”

The commissioners went on to approve another rezoning petition to rezone 37.84 acres of land from AR-1 (Agricultural Residential District), A-1 (Agricultural District) and R-2 (Two-family Residential District) to R-1 (Single Family Residential). They also approved a variance for an owner to allow construction of a garage in his front yard.

In other county business, the commissioners rejected the proposals for bid on the Liberty County Head Start building project, and approved numerous other resolutions listed on the agenda. In 2016, local government officials began securing funding for a new head start building. 

The commissioners entered executive session to discuss real estate matters but did not take vote when they exited. 

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