Mayfield plan leaves some ‘blue’

MAYFIELD – One question dominated the discussion Tuesday about the town’s proposed Comprehensive Plan: “Why is it blue?”

The “blue” in question was on a map of the town, showing a northwestern section that may be zoned for recreational use.

Several members of the Close family were among the roughly 40 residents who attended the second public hearing regarding the proposed plan.

The family members asked why that area, which they said has been an area of agriculture for 150 years, would be changed to recreational.

John Close, who operates a farm on the land, told the Planning Board he plans to keep farming.

“Nobody’s going to stop me … you’re not going to zone me out,” Close said. “If it’s recreational, I won’t be able to have a market on my land. This is way, way, way wrong.”

The board previously discussed making the land recreational to allow for the construction of golf courses, hotels and recreational centers.

Members of the Close family wanted to know what would happen to the agricultural aspect of the land.

John and Bill Close said they understand the idea of making the town more available to potential businesses, but they wanted to know why it had to go where their land is.

“What I’m trying to do is milk my cows,” John Close said. “What you’re trying to do is milk the tourists for money.”

Bill Close suggested the recreational area be changed to “residential/agriculture/recreation.”

Fulton County Planning Director Jim Mraz said he understood the residents’ concerns too, and assured them the town Planning Board is not trying to rid the town of agriculture.

“We weren’t articulate as to what recreation means,” Mraz said. “It was never meant to be solely recreation … I think [Bill] Close has made an excellent point that we’ll consider.”

Town officials reminded those in attendance the Comprehensive Plan was only a draft, and nothing was absolute in it.

Town Code Enforcement Officer Mike Stewart told the residents that the board would be discussing everything brought up at the public hearing and would discuss if they needed to make changes.

“We’re going to listen to you,” Stewart said. “We’re not necessarily going to have a snap answer or snap decision. We’re going to take your input and use that moving forward.”

Supervisor Richard Argotsinger said this morning he doesn’t know exactly what the Comprehensive Plan committee will do.

“From the information taken last night, I think the comprehensive plan committee may hold another public hearing,” he said.

Argotsinger, a farmer, said he understands the Close family’s worries, but he said no governing body can remove someone from an agricultural district.