Chapel Hill land use reverts to agriculture

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CHAPEL HILL -- Town planning commissioners approved a new property map on Monday when 37 acres - subdivided into 85 lots - were reverted to one tract of land for agricultural purposes.

"We're willing to do that," Town Administrator Mike Hatten explained of such technical changes to create a new "plat" to display property lines and related landmarks for owners, developers and lenders when one owner's plans can't be executed.

"Obviously things are not going well for developers and the economy, so we're willing to let property owners send lots in," Hatten said.

The 37 acres at Eagleville Pike and Stevens Road have been sold.

Real estate developer Ron Lampley got the land approved through the Marshall County Planning Commission before it was annexed, according to discussion among town planners.

The land is now zoned for residential purposes instead of agricultural uses, but since land is taxed based on its use, and not zoning, there's no reason to rezone the property. Hatten said rezoning was at one time the subject of a request to the planners, but that was changed.

Nancy Moorehead, who identified herself as the buyer of the 37 acres, attended the commission meeting in Town Hall on Monday.

"This could have gone to the Equalization Board," Moorehead said of the value of the land for property tax purposes. "The bank didn't take it until March."

Planners' discussion included points made by Planning Commissioner Earl Harris with regard to his experience paying taxes on undeveloped property.

Harris cast the one vote against approving a new plat for the 37 acres. Voting yes were Planning Commission Chairman Ed Adams and Mayor Carl Cooper.