Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Perryville Development

For those who have not seen it already;
Zoning request approved for land in Historic Perryville

A controversial rezoning request made by zoning commissioner Pete Coyle in November was narrowly approved Wednesday by a 5-4 vote. Coyle submitted the request to the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Committee to redesignate several acres of land zoned as agricultural to highway-commercial, single-family and multi-family housing, which he plans to sell for development purposes.

The property is on West Second Street, and a part of the Coyle family farm.

Since the request was made, residents and those interested in preserving the area's historical attractiveness attended meetings to voice concerns on how future developments would be overseen. Concerns were brought up about the possibility of Coyle selling the property, moving to Florida and leaving it in the hands of a developer who may not have the same passion for the historical value of the area as Coyle is said to.

In January, P&Z Director Paula Bary advised Coyle and his engineer to come up with restrictions and covenants for the committee to review, which they did.

Although Coyle was not present Wednesday for the continuance of the discussion, his engineer and newly-appointed attorney were. Several committee members were confused about Coyle's statement, recorded from January's meeting, indicating he was fine with giving the Perryville Battlefield and the City of Perryville all the rights of overseeing development in the area.

Doug Gooch, with AGE Engineering, said what Coyle meant was after the covenants and restrictions were accepted, "Coyle is willing to turn over enforcement of covenants and restrictions, all the enforcement rights," but said the design of the buildings would be maintained within the restrictions.

Daughters of the Confederates' Spokesperson Sherry Robinson, who has been in opposition to most of the idea, told the commission there were still questions as to why certain things were not in writing that Coyle had "given a gentleman's word" about. She said things like an agricultural easement or creation of a walking path on Old Mackville Road were not spelled out.

State funding sought by committee

Previously, Coyle said he was in talks with the battlefield's preservation committee, who was working with the state to secure funding on taking control of some of the land. Chris Kolakowski, director of the Perryville Enhancement Project, said that movement with the state has since stalled, but that his group and the state parks department were still interested.

Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet said talks about enforcing any covenants or restrictions has not been discussed.

"Our attorney said this was not to even be discussed until a plat was finalized through P&Z," Sleet said. She said Perryville is still working to create an ordinance to protect its historical buildings.

"I feel like Mr. Coyle is being asked to make a lot of commitments, but no one is willing to make one back to him," said Commissioner Jeffrey Baird.

An exchange took place between Baird and Kolakowski about a discrepancy in the difference between the city of Perryville being listed on the National Registry of Historical Districts, and the core battlefield preservation area. Kolakowski did demonstrate the entire city of Perryville is on the registry, but added Coyle seemed to be doing his job.

"Two independent federal agencies have identified it as nationally historic. But I would say that Pete (Coyle) has done a good job of laying it out for us, by offering to let us enforce the area," Kolakowski said.

Chairman Gary Chidester said most of the concerns would be met when the plats are presented to the board for approval, but offered some tough love for Coyle. He said Coyle had placed his engineer in a very tough position by not being at the meeting.

"He needed to be here to talk to these people, and I think it's unfortunate that he's not. We recommended he be here," Chidester said.

Baird said he felt Coyle was making the appropriate concessions, and felt the restrictions are in very good faith. He made the motion to accept the zone change with the exception that the wording be changed that the covenants can be enforced by the battlefield and the City of Perryville, not the design of the development.

Jerry Leber seconded the motion, and also in favor were Hugh Mahon, George Johnson and John Forsythe.

Committee members Chidester, Tommy Norville, Chris Hill and Becky Scholtz were opposed.

Copyright The Advocate-Messenger 2008

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