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Milner rejects variance for elderly woman, family

By Kay S. Pedrotti After contentious debate among council members, city of Milner residents and the city administrator, the four council members present at Monday’s called meeting could not agree on a request for variance for Tina Martin. A motion by Betty Wilson to approve the variance died for lack of a second. Martin, 70, who has lived in the same house on Tom Bell Road since she was a teenager, has been approved for a federal Department of Housing and Urban Development loan to replace her debilitated residence with a manufactured home. The variance request was made to allow a roof-pitch of 3-12 instead of 4-12 and to reduce the AR zoning district requirement for her lot. Mrs. Martin now has four family members living with her ‘“ her husband died in 2018 ‘“ and she left the meeting in tears. City administrator Wayne Patterson noted that variances may be granted by the city administrator or the mayor and council, but because of the rising controversy the decision was made to bring the matter to public hearing before the council. Mayor Joe Bostwick notified the council that he could not attend the meeting. Mayor pro-tem Fred Stephens conducted the meeting; Betty Wilson, George Weldon and Tracey Alford attended. Among those who spoke against granting the variance were Richard Smith, councilman Weldon and David Haire. Their stated reasons included violation of the zoning code, potential devaluing of other Milner properties, a statement that Patterson had given the council information about ‘subdivision requirements,’ and questions about whether Mrs. Martin should seek a smaller-sized house to comply with roof pitch and lot size code requirements for where her home is located. Patterson stated that ‘manufactured homes’ are the only category of housing for which construction requirements are set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD codes state that 3-12 roofs are recommended, he added. Milner’s code specifies the pitch be 4-12.

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