Developer and neighbors in Saltillo zoning dispute

By Cain Madden/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Residents will have to wait a month to find out if Center City Market will expand into what they consider their neighborhood.
The Saltillo Board of Aldermen voted to postpone a decision on the rezoning issue until its July 19 meeting, following a heated public hearing Tuesday night.
The deed of Jay Shannon’s 891 Old Highway 45 property is half commercial, half residential, and he is hoping to make the property purchased in 2004 commercial, said Shannon’s lawyer, Mike Tapscott. The property is a small piece of land immediately in the back of the main shopping center before the subdivision starts.
Saltillo Zoning Administrator Brian Grissom said the property is zoned residential.
If the property remains as is, Tapscott said it won’t be developed because the only offers Shannon has received for the property are from people who want to develop it commercially.
Tapscott said rezoning the property fits with Saltillo’s comprehensive plan, would not devalue properties and would boost sales tax revenue.
“Jay Shannon wants to sell the property,” Tapscott said. “It is up to the city to make sure that the development is something consistent with the city.”
Shannon said Wednesday he has spoken to a real estate agent, who said the property was not suitable for residential development, and that rezoning would not decrease property values.
At the hearing, a roomful of residents expressed concern with the way Shannon had developed his properties at Center City Market, some calling it “shoddy.”
Shane Hooper said he was assured by Shannon that his development would not cause drainage problems, but that after the first rainfall, his backyard was a “swamp.” He said he struggled with Shannon over getting a ditch built, to the point of a lawsuit.
“I’ve got a lawsuit that says you can’t believe a word Jay Shannon says,” Hooper said. “I finally got that ditch built, but who maintains it? I do, myself and my neighbor, an older lady.”
Hooper also said that while it might improve sales tax, Saltillo would lose homeowners, as many are threatening to move and rent the homes they can’t sell.
A petition, with 56 signatures from residents of three nearby subdivisions, was presented to the board by James Feathers.
Shannon said he felt calling the development shoddy was a low blow.
“I have a lot of tenants, and a lot of them have been with me for years and years,” Shannon said in a phone conversation. “I think it is the nicest shopping center that Saltillo has – it is as nice what you’d find in Tupelo.”
Contact Cain Madden at (662) 678-1582 or cain.madden@journalinc.com.