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Development: Parkersville residents object to plan to keep horses at home

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Residents of Petigru Drive and the Parkersville community told members of the Georgetown County Planning Commission last week they oppose a family’s plans to build a house and keep their horses on a wooded eight-acre tract in their neighborhood.

Mark and Addie McCoy want to buy the property at 1481 Petigru Dr., near the intersection of Godfrey Road, and have two horses and pony nearby so their two young daughters can ride on weekends. The animals are kept permanently on 60 acres in the Andrews area. Part of the Petigru Drive property is zoned general residential, and the remainder is zoned for residential lots of at least 10,000 square feet. The McCoys want the property zoned to a lower density of forest and agriculture-residential before they buy it.

“We live in a small, quiet neighborhood,” Norman Reid, a resident who spoke for opponents, said. “We want to keep it as it is. We do not object to the gentleman and his kids. We do object to animals. They could get loose and cause havoc in our neighborhood.”

Bob Moran, attorney for the sellers, said he was floored by the objections. “This proposal,” he said, “would maintain the safety, sanity and the beauty of the neighborhood. I have no idea why this would be objectionable. It’s not going to be a factory farm or have wild horses. It’s an improvement.”

Boyd Johnson, the county planning director, said he recommended the zoning change because it would reverse the trend of increasing density in the neighborhood. “General residential” zoning, he said, would allow 50 single-family lots on the property or as many as 128 apartments.

“It would be nice to see the green space,” Johnson said.

Zoning rules would require a 100-foot setback from the sides of the property for any animal enclosure, restricting the proposed paddock to a 70-foot strip in the middle of the tract.

“Based on going from 50 lots to one single-family house,” Johnson said, “the staff recommends this.”

Phillip Brady, a real estate agent, said the property has been on the market for about six years. He said proposals of a mobile home park, a cell phone tower, mini-storage units, bus parking and a boat yard all fell through.

“This is a residential area,” John Burgess, an area resident, said. “We do not want horses in our neighborhood. This is nothing against the family. We would love to have them. What you have here is a public outcry.”

Reid said he would rather have the apartments than the horses. “We don’t have the pull of Don’t Box the Neck,” he told the commission, referring to the group that recently opposed a big-box retail store on Highway 17. “Give us a break.”

Reid said he was concerned about the rezoning opening the door for other farm animals on the property.

Commission member Glenda Shoulette, who chaired the meeting, asked for a one-month deferral to allow Johnson to research ordinances concerning animals. Other members agreed.

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