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Zoning issues dominate county commission meeting
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Planning and zoning matters dominated the discussion at a Liberty County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday. The commission tabled a rezoning request for property about 250 feet south of Fort Morris Road, and denied a request for a conditional use permit for a gated truck terminal. 

The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission recommended the commission approve the rezoning request submitted by Ronald Boyd on behalf of property owner Edward Sikes. Boyd has asked county officials to approve rezoning the 1.5 acres from agricultural residential to neighborhood commercial. The land is on the south side of Islands Highway and would be the proposed site for a bar and grill.

District 6 Commissioner Eddie Walden asked why the county denied a rezoning request “several years back” for a boat storage facility in that area based on the neighborhood’s historical significance some years ago, yet has been asked to approve this request. Alan Seifert with the LCPC said planners did not find any historical sites on that particular piece of property. Commissioners agreed that section of the county is generally considered “historical.”

District 1 Commissioner Marion Stevens Sr. said he wants to speak with his constituents and gather more information before voting on the request at the county’s mid-month meeting.

On the second zoning issue, the commission agreed with the LCPC’s recommendation to deny a conditional use application for a gated truck terminal. The property, on which the owner, John Tzen, hoped to build the facility is located about 200 yards west of the intersection of Arcadia Drive and Leroy Coffer Highway. The two parcels are zoned general commercial. 

LCPC Executive Director Jeff Ricketson told commissioners Arcadia subdivision residents who attended the LCPC hearing on the conditional use application opposed to the request. These homeowners were concerned about traffic safety, noise and possible water runoff from semi-trucks, according to Ricketson.

District 3 Commissioner Connie Thrift said Liberty County needs a place for drivers to park their rigs, but agreed this site was not the right location as it “backs up” to a subdivision.

In other county business, County Finance Officer Kim McGlothlin told commissioners about plans to streamline the payroll process. The county government has grown, and with more employees on the payroll chronic problems with late and unsigned time sheets has gotten out of hand, McGlothlin said.  One solution might be to realign the pay periods starting in August, when county workers receive three paychecks.

“Commisioners are considering several options related to the change and plan to make a decision later this month,” County Manager Joey Brown said.

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