A debate over newly purchased property occurred during the City of Trenton’s July 13 Commission Meeting at City Hall.
Integer Engineer Joseph Bello purchased six acres of property from former Mayor Barton Harris and intended to place a couple of horses on the property for his family. The problem is that the property Bello purchased is inside the Trenton City limits and zoned as business residential, meaning it must be rezoned to residential agriculture, which would require a special hearing.
Some of Bello’s potential new neighbors have voiced concern about potential farm animals on the property to the commission and thus are expected to oppose Bello at the hearing. A letter was sent to the board by the Weaks’ claiming that rezoning Bello’s property would harm the community.
“I’m surprised at [the Weaks family] because [they] had goats and chickens on [their] property,” Harris said.
Harris said the horses would improve the land by eating the overgrown grass and preventing it from overgrowing again.
“It’s not like we’re trying to put a bunch of farm animals on a half-acre lot,” Harris said.
Commissioner Monda Wooten said she received a call from concerned neighbors as well, specifically about the animals roaming freely on the property.
“I’m not saying I would put horses out there immediately,” Bello said.
Bello said he plans on either fencing in the entire six acres or a smaller area near the barn that sits on the property to keep the horses safely secured.
“I don’t have a problem with that,” Wooten said. “I like horses more than anybody in here.”
Commissioner Kirk Forshee jumped in and said he wants to hear from the neighbors before voting yes or no.
“I’m not trying to do something that hasn’t happened there before,” Bello said, adding that keeping the property is a deal-breaker if he cannot place horses on it.
“Legally, we can’t make the change without rezoning it and getting public input,” Mayor Alex Case said.
“I don’t want [Bellow] to be penalized for doing the right thing,” Harris said, claiming that some of Bello’s neighbors have done similar things without telling the city.
“If I had all these [opposing] voices show up [to a hearing], I’d have to vote against this,” Wooten said.
“Same,” Forshee said. “I say we do a hearing.”
“We’ve got a man coming here trying to do the right thing and he’s getting turned down while everybody else is doing the wrong thing,” Harris said.
A motion to hold a hearing was made by Forshee. The motion carried and a hearing date will be determined in the coming weeks.
One of Bello’s potential neighbors, Cindy Weeks, then addressed Bello and Harris.
“Our own big deal is the runoff,” Weeks said.
Weeks said that the runoff from the pond on the property Bello purchased runs through her yard.
“I don’t want horse [manure] and fruit flies and the smell,” Weeks said.
“I had five horses there,” Harris said. “I lived where you lived.”
“But it’s in the city limits,” Weeks said. “We’re like three houses down from businesses.”
“Barton, you’re the exception,” Wooten said. “You were ‘OCD’.”
“You were mayor at the time,” Weeks said.
“The mayor thing didn’t have nothing to do with it,” Harris said.
“I’m sure you had something pulled,” Weeks said.
“I had horses before I was even in the city [limits],” Harris said.