City Council, Aug. 10, 2015

Agrieved merchants representing ownership of L-R Pure Barre, Soca's, Homewood Toy and Hobby Shop, Sam's Super Samwiches and Shaia's are determined to stop free-parkers from a newly rezoned church program satellite from invading their private customer parking lots.

Aggrieved merchants representing ownership of L-R Pure Barre, Soca’s, Homewood Toy and Hobby Shop, Sam’s Super Samwiches and Shaia’s objected to rezoning a Linden building for a church program satellite. Now they’re aligned to protect their private customer parking lots.

Merchants whose opposition to rezoning for a Church of the Advent satellite on Linden are back, this time asking for conspicuous No Parking signs to prevent church attendees from straying into their lots. Mr. Busenlehner, founder of Homewood Toy & Hobby Shop, pointed out the law already allows him to post individual signs at each of his privately owned spaces–something he says he doesn’t want to resort to. The council urged patience to give an ad hoc parking committee time to study the problem first. Merchants representing the core of the city’s downtown shops, from Cahaba Cycles to Sam’s Super Samwiches sat stern-faced in the audience as their representative pitched the request in the most positive way he could–the signs will prevent cars from being towed, the Fravert representative said. They list who MAY park here, not who can’t.

While merchants agreed to wait on results from the committee, they are planning to resurface the lots in September, and want a swift resolution.

Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Patrick McClusky, Barry Smith, Alex Wyatt, Richard Laws, Peter Wright, and council president Bruce Limbaugh.

Members absent: Vance Moody and Walter Jones. Also absent was Mayor Scott McBrayer.

Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Melody Salter, finance director, and Greg Cobb, city Building, Engineering and Zoning staff.

Audience attendance: 15

Approved minutes of the July 13, 2015 meeting.

CONSENT AGENDA-dropping two items

Dropped consideration of alternate designs for sidewalks/pedestrian improvements at Columbiana Road and Sterrett Avenue: The project is underway.

Dropped consideration of repaving an alley behind East Edgewood Drive: The resident hasn’t pursued this question. 



Three such signs would be posted at the entrances to parking on Linden behind downtown Homewood shops.

Carried over a no-parking sign variance request from downtown merchants: A contingent of downtown business- and property-owners who fought unsuccessfully to stop a church from zoning onto Linden Avenue property were back tonight asking permission to post larger-than-allowed No Parking signs on the privately owned lots behind 2800-2836 18th Street South. The properties represent businesses such as Cahaba Cycle, Homewood Toy & Hobby Shop, Pure Barre, Soca Apparel, Shaia’s, and Sam’s Super Samwiches. Many, if not most, had staunchly opposed the rezoning of a Linden building for the Church of the Advent, saying church attendees would use their parking and crowd out paying customers. The council’s vote in favor of rezoning was the catalyst for tonight’s request to post large and even imposing No Parking signs at each of the parking entrances along Linden.

The proposed signs would be each 12 square feet compared to the 4 square feet allowed. The Fravert Sign representative pointed out that signs the same size had been posted in other places with no city objection.

This photo-edited image shows what the No Parking signs would look like, if merchants are granted a variance. The council has asked for time to find a less-imposing solution to parking concerns.

This photo-edited image shows what the No Parking signs would look like on Linden, if merchants are granted a variance. The council has asked for time to find a less-imposing solution to parking concerns.

In discussion, Mr. Wright asked if the merchants would hold their request until an ad hoc parking committee headed by Mr. Thames could start meeting. The group had met once already. Toy & Hobby Shop founder Walter Busenlehner said none of the merchants were invited to that meeting and Mr. Thames said Steve Thomas, head of the Downtown Merchants Association, was notified and sent out an email about it to the members. However, Mr. Thames said it was only a brief organizational meeting and promised to call a meeting of the full membership before the next council meeting. Merchants agreed to wait.

Agreed to support a state retail beer and wine license for the Red Pearl restaurant and market: The restaurant at 243 West Valley Avenue has been recently remodeled.


The house at 222 Devon Drive received setback exemptions at an October 2014 Board of Zoning Adjustments hearing.

Approved work in the right-of-way for a residential parking pad and wall: Mr. Laws wasn’t inclined to approve the project, in which a resident is cutting a paved parking pad into the front of his residence at 222 Devon Drive, and using city right-of-way as a staging area. A long discussion followed on the justification of the work; other such requests have been presented — and rejected–as exemptions from driveway regulations. See similar case, next. The house was before another city board in October 2014.

Carried over a request to cut a paved parking pad into the property a narrow driveway: The homeowner at 3107 Whitehall Road agreed to bring drawings and a survey to the next council meeting, so members could visualize the request, which will require working in the city’s right-of-way. The Public Works Committee had not voted to recommend the project.

Set a Sept. 14 public hearing before voting whether to make substantial changes to the West Homewood District ordinance: The ordinance laying out the regulations and governance of an experimental redevelopment district in West Homewood has come under much scrutiny after an unpopular motel expansion become the first applicant under the new regulations. While the application of the EconoLodge is being reviewed under the original regulations passed more than a year ago, new amendments would abolish that panel and eliminate “Lodging” from permitted uses in the district. Pages of red-lined changes will be the subject of the vote following September’s public hearing.

Set an August 24 public hearing before voting whether to adopt 2015 building and fire codes: Under consideration are the 2015 editions of the International Building Code, Residential Code,Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code, Fuel Gas Code, Existing Building Code, International Property Maintenance Code, Energy Conservation Code, and the 2014 edition of National Electrical Code / NFPA 70 and the 2015 edition of the International Fire Code and all Appendices. Read carefully; last year’s adoption became an issue.


To Finance -To consider 1) Entering into a new mailing contract with Pitney Bowes; 2) Hearing an Alabama Power Col, Economic Development presentation; 3) Granting a cable franchise to Charter Communications; and 4) Amendments to the current budget.

Street trees may present the next battle to be waged on Homewood's crowded, over-built, and hard-to-manage  downtown strip.

Street trees may present the next battle to be waged on Homewood’s crowded, over-built, and hard-to-manage downtown strip.

To Planning and Development – To consider building a playground on city right-of-way in Lakeshore Estates.

To Public Works -To consider 1) Entering into an agreement with the state highway department to resurface a portion of Columbiana Road; and 2) Investigating a parking area drainage problem at the Lee Community Center.

To Special Issues -To consider problems with 1) Street trees growing on the downtown’s main street; and 2) a driveway variance requested at 105 Yorkshire Drive.


Paid the bills: The invoices for the period July 27-August 7, 2015 were approved to be paid.


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