Minority Report 2015-Dissents of record

Longstanding Homewood merchants opposed to the rezoning of the Linden Avenue property hear the 6-3 vote in favor. Expecting a loss, some have talked of appealing the decision to circuit court.

Longstanding Homewood merchants opposed to the rezoning of the Linden Avenue property heard the 6-3 vote in favor. Expecting a loss, some had talked of appealing the decision to circuit court.

The Homewood City Council has 11 members who met 30 times in the past year and ruled on an average of 17 items in each meeting–for about 500 votes total in 2015, conservatively speaking. So it may come as a surprise that only 12 of those votes were contested in any way, with only two of those being remotely close: 1) The vote to partially fund public transit for three months instead of six, split 6-4, with Moody and Limbaugh absent; and 2) With Hawkins and McClusky absent, a 6-3 vote to rezone a Linden Avenue building for a church, in the face of overwhelming merchant opposition.

On April 27, four absences combined with two dissenting votes to allow a minority of the council to pass a tax incentive of “historic” proportions, as one council member put it, to move ServisFirst’s banking headquarters to Homewood from Mt. Brook. Laws and Wright voted no in the absence of Hallman, Moody, McClusky or Smith.

In the "Elephant in the Room" category, councilman Peter Wright's final remarks tonight thanked the community for working together to relocate an electronic billboard at the Circle K property on Lakeshore and Columbiana Road.

Councilman Peter Wright thanked the community for working together to remove an electronic billboard erected on the Lakeshore Drive Circle K property in Jefferson County. But the council and mayor worked in  secrecy to relocate the sign to West Homewood.

Finally, it was a unanimous but undercover vote on March 23 that approved the relocation an offending electronic billboard from Lakeshore Drive to a site behind K-Mart in West Homewood. The billboard’s installation in unincorporated Jefferson County near Lakeshore houses sparked such public fury that the city privately negotiated its relocation to a site deemed less offensive–in West Homewood. Without comment, and following closed-door sessions, council members tacitly approved the new site March 23 through a vote to amend the sign ordinance (Moody absent).

Below are the contested votes in 2015, by member, of the City Council, Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Adjustments and Park Board. Here’s the 2014 report.

City Council

COUNCILMINORITY2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallman—voted against:

  • Allowing a vote on zoning ordinance changes on the first reading;
  • Funding 21 decorative street signs on Oak Grove Road;
  • Allowing a vote on rezoning a Linden Avenue building for a church on first reading;
  • (With Wright and Limbaugh) Rezoning the Linden Avenue building for a church;
  • Funding the $55,000 replacement of a wrecked police car in the current budget year;
  • Adopting the FY2016 General Fund budget because of disagreement with how employee increases were paid;
  • Funding the $25,000 price tag on the new city website;
  • Pursuing two federal grants for 18th Street pedestrian and parking improvements (north of Central Avenue) that required a 20% city contribution. Two separate votes at same meeting.

*Michael Hallman’s nine votes in minority positions don’t include 5 abstentions to avoid conflict-of-interest voting, mainly for measures involving projects as he works for one of the engineering contractors. Abstentions rarely affect a vote’s outcome but can disclose important relationships.

Britt Thames – Mr. Thames always voted with the majority.

Fred Hawkins — voted in the minority:

  • (With McClusky, Smith and Jones) Against a 3-month extension of MAX transit funding, preferring to extend it for 6 months;
  • (With Wright) To allow a parking pad in the right-of-way for a Roxbury residence. The majority voted no.

Vance Moody — voted against:

  • (With Smith) Dropping an effort to seek funds for more police cars including immediate replacement of a wrecked cruiser.
  • (With McClusky) Abolishing the Community Design Review Committee, a panel set up to govern special zoning in the new West Homewood District. The CDRC was abolished and the district placed under control of already-existing Planning Commission and BZA.

Patrick McClusky — voted against:

  • (With Moody) Abolishing the Community Design Review Committee, a panel set up to govern special zoning in the new West Homewood District. The CDRC was abolished and the district placed under control of the city’s Planning Commission and BZA;
  • (With Hawkins, Smith and Jones) Passage of a 3-month extension of MAX transit funding, preferring to extend it for 6 months.

Walter Jones —voted against:

  • (With Hawkins, McClusky, and Smith) Passage of a 3-month extension of MAX transit funding, preferring to extend it for 6 months.

Barry Smith — voted against:

  • (With Moody) Dropping an effort to seek funds for more police cars, including immediate replacement of a wrecked cruiser.
  • (With Jones, McClusky and Hawkins) Passage of a 3-month extension of MAX transit funding, preferring to extend it for 6 months.

Alex Wyatt — The newly appointed replacement for Heather Reid has so far always voted with the majority.

Richard Laws — voted against:

  • (With Wright) Offering a substantial tax abatement for ServisFirst to build a new headquarters in Homewood. Given the unusual number of absences, this measure was passed by a MINORITY of the whole 11-member council, with Hallman, Moody, McClusky and Smith not present.

Peter Wright — voted in the minority:

  • (With Hawkins) To allow a parking pad in the right-of-way for a Roxbury residence. The majority voted no.
  • (With Hallman and Limbaugh) Against rezoning a Linden Avenue building for a church; Wright said he wasn’t opposed to the rezoning but wanted the vote delayed to resolve merchant opposition.
  • (With Laws) Against offering a substantial tax abatement for ServisFirst to build a new headquarters building in Homewood. Given the unusual number of absences, this measure was passed by a MINORITY of the whole 11-member council. Hallman, Moody, McClusky, and Smith not present.

Bruce Limbaugh — voted against:

  • (With Hallman and Wright) Rezoning a Linden Avenue building for a church.

Planning Commission

Planningcommissionminority2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning Commission members serve 6-year terms by mayoral appointment and do not represent any ward. The commission governs development plans and the city’s Master Plan. For rezoning cases, its votes are influential but advisory only to the City Council, which has the final say.

Fred Azbik – voted in the minority:

  • (With Foster) Against approving an amended Creative Montessori School plan to expand parking.
  • (With Foster) Against recommending the rezoning a building on Linden Avenue for a church.
  • To allow All Saints to rezone adjacent property for a parking lot. The commission voted not to recommend and the church didn’t appeal to the council.

*Jeffrey Foster – voted in the minority:

  • (With Azbik) Against approving an amended Creative Montessori School plan to expand parking.
  • (With Azbik) Against recommending the rezoning of a building on Linden Avenue for a church.

* Foster also has a seat as an alternate, or supernumerary, on the BZA.

James Ponseti – voted in the minority:

  • (With Woods) Not to recommend rezoning a building on Bagby Drive for a storage facility.

Mark Woods – voted in the minority:

  • (With Ponseti) Not to recommend rezoning a building on Bagby Drive for a storage facility.

Board of Zoning Adjustments

BZAMINORITY2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Board of Zoning Adjustments hears appeals from zoning administration decisions and decides property owner requests for minor exceptions to zoning regulations, such as setbacks, lot area, etc. BZA rules require a majority of at least 4 votes to grant a variance, meaning the minority often prevails in denying requests.

Lauren Gwaltney – voted in the minority:

  • Against variances at 111 Broadway, 307 Broadway and 407 Clermont (with Cole), all in the same meeting.

Beverly LeBoeuf – voted in the minority:

  • Against allowing Samford to have an above-ground fuel storage tank;
  • To allow work to continue on a deck at 209 Clermont that was in violation;
  • To allow a variance at 111 Crest;
  • Against variances at 513 Devon, and the Broadway “triangle” houses.

Ty Cole – voted in the minority:

  • To grant variances at 1007 Melrose Place;
  • Against variances at 407 Clermont; 111 Crest Drive, and 410 St. Charles Street;
  • Abstained from one vote due to employment conflict of interest with applicant ServisFirst bank.

Brian Jarmon – voted in the minority:

  • To grant variances at 1007 Melrose Place;
  • To allow work to continue on a covered deck at 209 Clermont that was in violation;
  • To allow a variance at 111 Crest;
  • Against a variance for dividing a lot at 909 Irving Road;

Hope Cannon:

  • Abstained from one vote due to possible conflict of interest with applicant Samford University.

*Jeffrey Foster – voted in the minority:

  • Twice against variances at 3120 Overton;
  • Against variances at 1416 Ardsley Place, 403 Edgewood Blvd., and 1211 Irving Road.

*Foster also serves on the Planning Commission and is a “supernumerary,” member of the BZA, voting only when there are absences of the regular board.

Park board

There’s no need to chart the harmonious park board, whose Ward 1 rep Becky Morton cast the only dissenting vote last year. Calling it an abstention, Morton objected to punitive language in a parking contract the board was presenting to the the Exceptional Foundation. That was on May 7. The board’s conflicts with the Foundation are still ongoing.

 

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2 responses to “Minority Report 2015-Dissents of record

  1. You forgot Hallman also voted no to funding the railing in west Homewood after voting yes to fund the same railing in Edgewood.

    Like

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