It was another contentious meeting between some residents of Pierce City and aldermen as they once again pondered the question to of whether or not to approve re-zoning of a plot of land located at the corner of Pine and Morris Streets.
The landowner, Darrell Clayton, wants to put in a small sawmill operation to manufacture railroad ties. Clayton said that the business would operate within the confines of a building and that trucks entering and leaving the premises would utilize county roads bordering the property.
Some city residents argued that property values in the neighborhood would decrease and that children would be run over by semi -truck traffic. One neighborhood spokesperson said the 15 local children who reportedly live in the area outweigh the five to 10 potential employees that Clayton would hire to run the operation.
A petition was presented to aldermen containing the signatures of residents objecting to the re-zoning request. Alderman David Jones questioned how the signatures on the document could be verified.
Jackie Fischer, a Pierce City resident who lives near Cooper Packaging on Spruce Street, noted that there had been semi-trucks in and out of that area for years with no problems.
The hearing closed, and a special meeting of the board of aldermen convened.
A motion was made by Alderman Corey Sooter to approve the re-zoning request and seconded by David Jones. A vote on the matter saw Sooter, David Jones, Melissa Creed, Brian Jones and Brandon Raley approving the request, and John Archer and Julie Garner casting dissenting votes.
Although the vote represented a clear majority of the quorum in attendance, Pierce City statute 405.590 reads that the matter must pass by two-thirds vote of the board. Alderman Scott Wahl was not present at the vote.
City Clerk Julie Johnson referred the matter to City Attorney Don Trotter for a decision.
Alderman Raley addressed comments directed to councilmen concerning being voted out of office in the upcoming election by stating, "I wasn't voted into this seat. I'm here, because no one else wanted it. I'm doing what I think is best for Pierce City, and if you want this seat, you are welcome to it."
Other aldermen and Mayor Allen Stockton gave Raley a round of applause for his response and his willingness to serve uncompensated alongside other members of the council.
Once a legal decision on vote is made, Clayton will either have the go ahead to build the mill if the zoning request is approved, or to utilize the property for its designated purpose of building a mobile home park if it is not.