If tonight’s vote on subdivision amendments sounds familiar, it’s because the identical changes were approved a month ago–but without proper public notice, a problem that has dogged the city’s several planning boards this year. After the re-vote, the commission cautiously approved a re-survey to divide the Jim and Jim’s auto shop property between the late owner’s two heirs, and waived a series of subdivision requirements to fit a Columbiana Road condominium into tight quarters.
Members present: Chairman Billy Higginbotham, Jeffery Foster, James Riddle, and Mark Woods.
Members absent: Fred Azbik, Vice chairman Mike Brandt, and Fred Hawkins.
Staff attendance: Donna Bridges, commission secretary, and Greg Cobb, city Building, Engineering and Zoning Department staff.
Audience attendance: 5
Carried over approval of minutes from the Nov. 3, 2015, meeting, which weren’t distributed.
Approved the following changes to the subdivision regulations: 1) Reduced the required lot width for a circular driveway from 75 feet to 60 feet. The changes mean smaller lots can have circular drives, which increase pavement in front of a house, but may provide better safety for exiting cars on busy streets; 2) Allowed driveways (specifically the portion of a private drive that crosses the city right-of-way) to be built with materials beside asphalt and concrete, to include pavers, bricks, flagstones, etc., and to make that definition consistent in the zoning book and subdivision regulations; 3) Restricted the amount of paving allowed on private residences to 50 percent of a yard–there were no restrictions before. Tonight’s vote was a repeat of last month because the November vote was taken without proper public notice.
Resurveyed the Jim & Jim’s garage complex on 27th Court South: The building at 1722, 1724 & 1726 27th Court South is under one roof but houses the separately owned garage and body shop businesses, which lease from the Lunceford family property owners. Mr. Tim Lunceford, son of one of the original business partner “Jims,” asked to divide the two parcels along a common concrete wall that separates the two businesses, and combine the current three separate addresses into two lots instead of three. Mr. Lunceford explained his mother had recently died and left the property to him and his sister, who want to own and collect rents on the building separately. Following some discussion about the pitfalls of divided ownership on a single building, such as improvements on one side requiring fire sprinklers on the whole structure, the commission voted in favor of the resurvey.
Waived several subdivision requirements for a condominium development on Columbiana Road: Progressive Properties plans to build a six-unit condominium at 818 Columbiana Road, owned by Twin Holdings, for which the Planning Commission recommended a rezoning request, passed by the City Council, and the Board of Zoning Adjustments then granted zoning variances. Tonight the developers were back seeking waivers of subdivision rules, which are governed entirely by the Planning Commission. The waivers reduced 1) the required road right-of-way from 50 feet to 32 feet; 2) the required road width from 32 feet to 24 feet; and 3) The width of front sidewalks from 5 feet to 3 feet (but keeping the 5-foot width on Columbiana). Also waived was a required full-sized cul-de-sac on any dead-end road longer than 150 feet to allow a fire engine to turn around. The planned road off Columbiana will be 148 feet. Although fire engines can back out of such short streets, the developers proffered to build curb ramps on either side of the narrowed Columbiana intersection so engines can pull in without cutting corners. The favorable vote was contingent on the curb proffer.