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13.67-acre Ramah Church Road subdivision okayed despite backlash

The Lamar County commission voted 3-1 Aug. 17 to approve the subdivision of 13.67 acres on Ramah Church into six lots despite backlash from residents of the area – particularly those living on Reeves Road. Commissioner Bob Heiney cast the lone dissenting vote on the matter. Chuck Thompson, Clint Ward and Thomas Ward will sell lots. Buyers will have to construct stick-built homes of at least 2,000 square feet. At a public hearing prior to the vote, residents proclaimed their distaste for the plan. Travis and Ashley Johnson of 273 Reeves Rd. were among them. ‘I moved to this county to be in the country,’ Ashley said. ‘I dislike people. I need to be in the country to get away from people,’ Travis added. Dennis Rich of 293 Reeves Rd. moved here in 1999 after leaving a subdivision in Forest Park where he had resided for 26 years. ‘We moved here and built our dream home. These developers are here to make a buck. Once they do, they will be gone. Stop this cancer before it spreads,’ Rich urged to commissioners. Kevin Rich, a law enforcement officer who is building next door to his father, noted he has an autistic child who thrives in the quiet of the country setting. ‘There are no Lamar countians here to speak in favor of this,’ he alleged. Dana Platt of 285 Reeves Rd. said, ‘A subdivision right up on top of us is not going to be compatible.’ Developers Thompson and Clint Ward, who both live on Estes Road in Monroe County, seemed genuinely surprised by the opposition. ’We are not asking for any variances. I am from Lamar County. My family has been here since the 1960s. We do care about Lamar County. My brother lives on Ramah Church Road. These are going to be nice, upscale homes. We think it is the best case scenario for the land,’ Thompson said. ’We are not changing in the zoning. We are not putting in a subdivision. There will be no roads, no curb and gutter,’ Ward added. The Reeves Road contingent was also concerned about future plans for about 170 acres the developers own across Ramah Church Road from the property in question. ’The land across the road will be estate lots ranging from eight to 50 acres. The land is not suitable for a high-density subdivision. We are not the bad guys here,’ Thompson concluded.

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