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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2007
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Harvest residents don't want honky-tonk next to neighborhood

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — Jim Bernhard is a self-proclaimed "one mad Yankee."

Bernhard, who moved to Foxridge Subdivision in Harvest from north of the Mason-Dixon line, is upset that a commercial development is under way adjacent to his neighborhood.

"You can call me a damn Yankee, but you shouldn't destroy my property values or my quality of life," he said.

Bernhard and three other residents expressed concerns about Capshaw Merchant Village to the Limestone County Commission on Monday.

Capshaw Road

The development would be on about seven acres on Capshaw Road east of East Limestone Road. The lot now serves as a wooded buffer for the subdivision.

"We had to follow subdivision code to build our homes, and I invested time and money and am wondering if I will have a 24-hour Jimmy's go in behind me," said resident Craig Lamb. "Are there any restrictions as to what can locate? Are we going to have honky-tonks?"

Residents also worry about drainage and traffic congestion. If the property sells as eight lots, there could be eight driveways emptying onto Capshaw Road. One lot would face Doe Run and could have traffic traveling through the subdivision to enter and exit.

No zoning restrictions

Commission Chairman David Seibert said the county does not have zoning restrictions. He said there was a vote in 2004 to give the county limited home rule authority and 63 percent of residents voted against it.

"It hasn't been annexed, so they can't put a beer joint in the county because we're dry, but otherwise, it's pretty much a free ballgame," Seibert said.

County Engineer Richard Sanders said the developer will have to leave an easement for water to drain under Capshaw Road and to the north, and leave a 20-foot conservation easement.

The commission opted not to give the development preliminary approval so Seibert can contact the county attorney about whether it can prohibit a driveway on Doe Run.

Lamb said the previous owner, Bill Lewis, told him the wooded property would not be developed. Lamb said Lewis died, and the property reverted to his son-in-law, Fred Pepper.

Sanders said the wooded area was not part of the original subdivision layout, and the county cannot enforce codes set by a homeowners association.

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