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LETTER: Felton Hudson

Dear Editor,

Recently letters from two Correydell residents have been printed involving critical zoning that three members of the Covington City Council approved concerning land juxtaposed to the North of our over 55 neighborhood. This ruling directly affects us most harmfully. I would like to further expand my neighbors no hyperbole and factual concerns they stated.

Despite a 6-0 vote by the zoning commission (Mayor Horton also voiced an opinion in our favor due to traffic concerns) to deny Mr. Bob Richardson’s petition to have his land zoned from R-1 type homes to R-2/3 houses that would include 43 “tiny” homes of about 1100 square feet and about 20 others more comparable with Correydell’s homes, he got all he asked for. Why does this commission exist if its opinion is totally ignored? Richardson’s victory gives him the vulgar right to cut into our neighborhood for the only access for the small homes. The 20 others would use an existing road that he or his family have used for over 75 years and which at some additional costs could have been used for the 43 “tinies.” Perhaps Mr. Richardson’s anguish and determination to sell his property with the council’s approval, despite the harm done to many, stemmed from an unbelievable zoning made by this council which is allowing 3-400 apartments be built directly across Jackson Highway from him. This unfathomable ruling literally boxes him in, as his will do to us.

Some may applaud the approval as there is no doubt a critical shortage of affordable housing availability in Covington/Newton. But are they, or will they be affordable due to construction costs and the topographical modifications required. With money now tighter and more expensive to borrow, I am concerned even if this hideous approval is allowed by the courts, that eventually the homes will be entirely of the rental nature (becoming hot spots for crime) and being taxed according to income generated. This means of course as is with apartments, the tax burden load will be off loaded to the single-family homeowners.

Councilpersons Morgan, Baggett and Evans slammed the door shut on 72 residents of Coreydell and many more domiciled for decades residents to the north of Richadson’s property. Three ill(non)-considered votes have literally ruined the lives of many people who have played the rules according to Hoyle. Morgan made the motion to accept, and Baggett almost jumped out of her seat like a jack in the box screaming her seconding it-she wasn’t wearing any sunglasses that I could see. Only MS Evans can define her vote.

We of Correydell cannot live with this hideous ruling and perhaps some home cooking for Mr. Richardson and his lawyer Mr. John Nix. Mr. Nix seems to be the favorite legal representative for those with questionable zoning issues and usually bats 1000. His legal persuasion and homily pleas seem to connect with the County and City leaders, mesmerizing them to make such important decisions and compelling them to forget their obligation to ensure zoning also protects the rights of surrounding property owners.

There were legal questions involved with Richardson’s request that are far out of reach of the council and should have been left up to the courts at Richardson’s cost as he is the one insisting on all the enchiladas-including the intolerable cutting a road into our complex. Yes, it does actually make our already painful egress/ingress into our homes more dangerous and difficult. And what about the degradation to our home values??  Now to add insult to the injury of this finding, we must also pay for the litigation needed to reverse the council’s ignoring our pleas.

 Zoning is a two-way street and should always be the guidepost for making significant changes. Covington’s and Newton’s helter skelter erratic zoning is forever changing the landscape and support necessary for servicing the tax digest, plus stretching the infrastructure to the point all of us should be sharpening our standards as to whom we elect to these positions.

Bagget and Morgan now vie for the mayor’s position and my rep MS Keck led the way to increase the council pay by 33% now making each of the 22 annual meetings worth 12,000 dollars annually to them or 545 dollars per normal 2-hour meeting for each of the 6 members. This is a tad beyond altruism in my mind. Mr. Morgan said he did not think that the citizens would mind if they “took” a little extra money. Yes Mr. Morgan, we mind, we really mind considering the current dismal state of the citizens pocketbook and costs of living. For these two reasons alone, I have decided to run for Mayor too and without taking a salary as I see the job as an honorarium and altruism not plunder. Am I running out of revenge-maybe, but I also have a long history of love for my hometown that is being mauled.

I know fully that I nor the council/Commission can stop all zoning and the building of hundreds of apartment units, nor do I want to. But this explosive growth needs to have the brakes applied, at least for the time needed to access our ability to provide for all this growth. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this for anyone. Deep down where the sun doesn’t shine, we all see the dilemma we face. Neither Baggett nor Morgan has the skills needed to fix what they have helped break. If I am not satisfactory to you in this critical voting matter, there are two other worthy candidates for your choosing. If you see something, do something!


Felton Hudson