Published 12:00 am Monday, January 11, 2016

Gowdy Street has long served as an alley adjacent to the Eureka Building. A landowner is asking the city to abandon a portion of the street. The action would clear the way for the landowner to build three new homes on the property, replacing substandard structures that have stood on the site for years. — Photo by John Howell

Hearing set for Gowdy Street

By John Howell
A public hearing on the city’s abandonment of a section of alley adjacent to the Eureka Building has been set for the Feb. 2 meeting of Batesville’s mayor and aldermen.
The hearing has been triggered by a request from contractor Tommy Caine who wants enough space to build three homes in the area between Dabney Station, Eureka Street and the Public Square. Caine has asked if he can acquire a portion of Gowdy Street.
The property owner said that he has already demolished one structure on the site where dilapidated homes have stood for years.
“We just want to clean up in there and make it presentable,” Caine said. The additional square footage he would gain with the city’s abandonment of the street would allow room for the three new houses.
Without the additional area, he can put two new homes on the street and the city will be required to maintain the long-neglected street.
“The City can abandon the road and the landowners on both side(s) of the road get title to the middle of the street,” assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell stated in an email to the mayor and aldermen. “The City must compensate the adjoining landowners for the damages resulting from vacating the road,” Mitchell added.
Mitchell said that he recommended a hearing to allow public comment on the request in a procedure that would be similar to the handling of rezoning.
There was no comment during a hearing Tuesday when Batesville Rehabilitation owner Niles Norris asked for a variance that would allow him to place a message center atop a monument sign at his new building on Lakewood Drive.
Aldermen voted unanimously to permit the sign that will identify Norris’ business and that of two business tenants under the digital messaging center.
A public hearing was also set for the Feb. 2 meeting to allow comment on a request from Heafner Motors for a variance to allow additional signage for its Collision Center.

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