As foreseen, the council refused to act on an Islamic Academy rezoning request until the school remediates a damaged slope on 18th Street South. Curbside recycling is approved for another three years, but Republic must do better delivering promised school education and other services.
Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Barry Smith, Heather Reid, Richard Laws, Peter Wright, and Bruce Mr. Limbaugh. Mayor Scott McBrayer was also present.
Members absent: Vance Moody
Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, and city Building, Engineering and Zoning manager Greg Cobb.
Audience attendance: 16
Approved minutes of the Oct. 16, 2014, meeting.
Appointed a Ward 2 BZA member: The council appointed Beverly LeBoeuf to the Ward 2 seat on the Board of Zoning Adjustments. The seat was vacated by Trey Schaeffer, who moved to another ward.
OLD BUSINESS AGENDA
Dropped an idea to use a Forest Drive green space for restaurant parking: Due to negative feedback from the neighborhood, the council unanimously agreed to drop a proposal from Walter Jones and Bruce Limbaugh to convert for parking a landscaped green space on Forest Drive. The green space is accessible to GianMarco’s restaurant by a footbridge over Griffin Creek.
Sent back to committee an Islamic Academy rezoning request: The request to rezone from commercial to institutional uses a 4+-acre parcel of wooded land on a steep incline along 18th Street right-of-way ran into trouble on several foreseeable fronts tonight. The Islamic Academy previously tried to construct a parking lot near the property, without a city permit, and has been blamed for causing a slope failure along the 18th Street state roads right-of-way and for not remediating it as required. These issues were further complicated tonight when the Academy’s surveyor Joseph Miller related that a geotechnical firm said the slope problem was not caused by the parking lot construction. Additionally, the state highway department (ALDOT) has disputed that it has jurisdiction over the right of way, saying it belongs to the city. With so many issues to be resolved, the rezoning request was sent back to the Planning and Development Committee for further study. Those unresolved questions were enough to send the question back to the Planning and Development Committee for further study before considering the rezoning. Click to read details of the original case.
Approved speed humps for a downtown alley: The mayor accidentally authorized and installed the speed humps without council approval. Tonight’s vote ratified the installation and expense of speed humps in the alley running parallel to 18th Street, behind the shops.
Allowed a visible side yard fence on city right-of-way: The council allowed the homeowner at 403 Oxmoor Road a variance to build a “front yard” fence (visible side yard) to block the view of the Buddy Wade insurance office next door. Further, the council approved–with a signed indemnification agreement from the homeowner–that a portion of the fence be built on city right-of-way.
Approved 9-1 one sign request and unanimously denied another for Big#1 Motorsports: The recreational vehicle dealership at 505 Cobb Street asked for an additional building sign and a free-standing sign for newly signed supplier BMW. One resident (the reporter) spoke in opposition, citing past and ongoing zoning infractions. The council, with one dissenting, voted to approve the attached sign. However, Mr. Wright said he intended to vote against the free-standing sign and the rest of the council followed suit.
Voting no to the attached sign: Mr. Hallman, after noting the business was awarded previous variances and said it wouldn’t require any more.
Reiterated a Dec. 15 rezoning hearing for a brewery: The hearing is set for the Dec. 15, 2014, meeting. Read details of the case here.
Mr. Laws left the meeting at this point.
COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA
The following new issues were referred to committee for deliberation: To Finance: To consider 1) Declaring as surplus and disposing of IT Department equipment; 2) Purchasing an ad in Business Alabama Magazine; 3) Making amendments to last year’s budget; and 4) Considering a street light on Highland Road.
To Special Issues: To consider a variance allowing a “front yard fence” for The Islamic Academy.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS
Approved a revised APCO Right-of Way agreement: This agreement is required to move an electrical facility to the rear of 1616 Oxmoor Road, the Exceptional Foundation, which is building an addition.
Paid the bills: Invoices for the period Nov. 17-28, 2014, were approved to be paid.
Approved, with comment, a 3-year recycling contract: The council ratified Republic Service’s 3-year curbside recycling contract, which had been allowed to automatically renew for 2015-2017 at roughly $3/month per household for 6,048 households. However, the Finance Committee met earlier with a company representative to emphasize that it expects educational services and other contract benefits be delivered as promised.
Agreed to remove yellow lines at Oxmoor Road and Edgeview Avenue and reestablish a turn lane.
Approved an expenditure to add a center line and edge lines on Parkridge Drive.
Approved budget transfers from FY2014 to complete the Rec Center: A transfer of $64,000 was approved.
Declared six police cars surplus, for sale: Six Crown Victorias seven years old and older were declared surplus and due to be sold.