Saltillo board rejects rezoning request

By Cain Madden/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – A month ago, many Saltillo homeowners spoke out against a developer’s request, saying it would lower their property value.
On Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen rejected developer Jay Shannon’s request, citing it didn’t meet the city’s criteria to rezone a property.
Shannon wanted to develop the land behind Center City Market on Old Highway 45 and bring in a national retailer. The land is zoned part-residential and part-commercial. Shannon’s attorney said the site is no longer suitable for residential development.
“I believe Mr. Shannon’s attorney failed to prove that it would not affect property values, and that it would not change the characteristics of the neighborhood,” said Alderman Brad Woodcock, who made the motion to deny the request. “I could not, in confidence, vote for rezoning.”
Due to the fact that more than 20 percent of the property owners in the affected area signed a petition against the rezoning, the board had to achieve a two-thirds majority vote. The vote passed unanimously, with alderman Scott Knight recusing himself because he owns a property in the neighborhood.
Shannon said he felt like this vote showcased that Saltillo did not have real leadership and if the city continues down this path, it would lead to its demise as a commercial entity.
“If we continue on the same path as we have been traveling for the past six or so years, then we will be only a bedroom to Tupelo,” Shannon said. “It takes more than sending our kids to our fine schools and buying homes to have a thriving community, it takes businesses.”
To meet Saltillo’s rezoning ordinance, Shannon had to meet several criteria, including showing that it is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan, that changes have occurred in the area since the zoning was adopted and that the zone will not adversely affect the area, such as decreasing property values.
cain.madden@journalinc.com