April 20, 2016 Edition

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Hoxie council discusses
fees for rezoning

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

With an increase in rezoning requests in Hoxie, the city council spent much of the April 12 meeting discussing how to set fees associated with rezoning.

When a property is recommended for rezoning, the property to be rezoned must be marked and ads for a public hearing must be run in a local newspaper. These expenses are paid by the city and are expected to be covered in the fee paid by the party that put in the rezoning request.

The planning and zoning commission recommended a flat rate fee of $75. Mayor Lanny Tinker said he felt that was too low. Instead a variable fee based on size and cost of project was discussed. Local businessmen B.J. Hibbard and Bobby Macom, who have worked toward rezoning several properties in both Hoxie and Walnut Ridge, said many cities have changed to a percentage of total project cost for rezoning requests. Other factors include total square footage and type of rezoning.

With two requests, one at 1517 Southeast Front and one at 1949 Highway 63B, on the table and more expected, the council agreed that a decision needed to be made quickly.

However Alderman Tim Taylor said he did want to take the time to make sure it was done right. Alderman Jerry Decker chimed in that he also wanted to be as fair as possible. "The city's not looking to make a profit, just cover costs," Decker said.

Tinker said he would address the proper way to set the fees with City Attorney Bobby Gibson. The council discussed a flat rate cost of $150 for rezoning expenses such as signs and advertisements and an at cost rate for the attorney expense in drawing up the ordinance required to take the rezoning to vote. A percentage rate may be implemented in the future after research is done to assess a fair way to implement it.

Also at the meeting:

Tinker announced that there is a new prospect for the former Save-A-Lot building, but didn't want to divulge any more information at this stage in the communication.

the council was informed of old records that are being stored in unfit conditions. After the records are gone through and boxed, aldermen will be presented a list of records to be destroyed to vote on at a future meeting.

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