Home News Local News Disputed annexation case tabled for now

Disputed annexation case tabled for now

JHTC Investments has done some work to prepare for a cement ready-mix operation on West Brasher Road. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Property owner wants zoning issue heard first

A company’s request to rezone its West Brasher Road property to allow a cement ready-mix operation is scheduled to have its appeal heard in late April. Meanwhile, the company manager’s request for annexation into the city was put on indefinite hold Tuesday night until the zoning issue is resolved.

“Based on that (Extraterritorial Zoning Commission) decision, he has some things he needs to rethink and relook at, so it is not necessary at this point for him to do this tonight,” said Riley Armstrong, chair of the City of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission. “Now it doesn’t mean that it won’t come up again in a month or two months.”

The plans of JHTC Investments LLC have been opposed by a number of homeowners on South Eisenhower Road, who wrote to the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Commission and appeared at a March 19 meeting to say that they think the operation will bring unwanted noise, dust, traffic and possible health problems to an area zoned rural suburban, especially since the original rezoning and annexation applications said that the business might also run an asphalt mixing operation at the site. Opponents also spoke against annexation, saying they did not want to be near city operations and worried that the move was intended to give the city a reason to annex their properties in the future.

The head of the company, Jim Mitchell, said he would forego plans for the asphalt operations as well as the annexation if that would lead the ETZ to approve his rezoning application. He also countered that much of the area is already occupied by industrial and agricultural operations and that his operation would bring jobs, reduce the cost of concrete for public projects to the benefit of taxpayers and help the community economically and in other ways.

Mitchell and his wife, Holly, have purchased about 56 acres in the 3100 block of West Brasher Road across from the city of Roswell landfill. For about 25 years, the property has had a special use permit from the ETZ allowing it to operate as a sand and gravel pit.

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But the Mitchells, who also own a construction company in Albuquerque and an asphalt and crushing operation near Hagerman, had asked permission of the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Commission to change the zoning to industrial, which would allow it to operate a concrete plant. That request was denied 4-1 on March 19 after about 20 people spoke against the application, with about 11 people speaking in favor of it. He also had filed the separate matter for city annexation so that the property could connect to city water lines, which would reduce the cost of water for the company.

After the ETZ vote, the company appealed, with the ETZ Authority hearing now scheduled for April 25, according to county staff. The ETZ Authority consists of three members of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners and two members of the Roswell City Council.

The annexation issue had been slated to be considered Tuesday night by the City of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission, and quite a number of the people who had spoken against the rezoning application at the ETZ Commission meeting were present in the audience before the commission said it would table the matter indefinitely.

City of Roswell Community Development Manager Bill Morris said that legal notices would be advertised if the annexation case is reopened and that nearby property owners will be mailed letters of notifications.

“There are a lot of cases that are kind of intermingling between the city system and the county system and the ETZ system,” said Morris. “They want to clear that up before they come back into the city process.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.