04/21/04 — Fremont town board allows replacement home

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Fremont town board allows replacement home

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 21, 2004 2:07 PM

FREMONT -- A Fremont resident will be allowed to replace an old burned-out mobile home in a zone that does not allow them.

The Fremont town board, after wrestling with the issue since August, approved a change in its zoning ordinance to allow the replacement of a non-conforming mobile home used as a residence if it were 75 percent damaged by storms or fire.

The resident, Lassiter Barnes, had asked the board to let him replace the 40-year-old home at 505 Vance St.

Barnes did not attend Tuesday night's public hearing on the issue during the board's monthly meeting in Town Hall.

But former Town Alderman Sam Pierce, whose substitute motion had passed in November, opposed the change Tuesday night. In fact his motion had asked that the town allow replacements for not only residences but also for businesses that were substantially damaged.

Pierce complained that the town's proposed change was not fair for everyone in Fremont. He said there were 30 non-conforming homes on Sycamore Street and 14 on Main Street. If they had to be replaced, he said, the owners would have to ask for a variance.

"You need to treat everyone the same way," Pierce contended. "If you let a man put a trailer back, you should let a man put a house back."

Pierce also said no town employee, except perhaps retiring Town Administrator Tom Barnes, was qualified to say a home was damaged by 75 percent.

Nonetheless, the board passed Alderman Leon Mooring's motion to accept the change in a 5-1 vote with Alderman Billy Harvey dissenting.

After the property owner had addressed the August meeting, Tom Barnes obtained a proposed zoning amendment from a community planner and presented it to the board in November. That's when Pierce offered his substitute amendment that the board passed.

However, the board's adviser, Neil Mallory, said the substitute was not legal because it had not been advertised for the public hearing.

After the election of a new mayor and three new aldermen, the issue was supposed to be taken up again in February.

But Tom Barnes admitted that he had not advertised the matter in time, and it was not discussed until March. The board then agreed to readvertise the original amendment in April.