A property owner is promising an Orvis-like sporting goods development in the heart of Central Avenue and other improvements that will “clean up” the block and unify a hodge-podge of small business sites. Westward, a flooring company will move in to the old K-Mart building; duplex owners seek a rezoning out of the Green Springs Renewal District; and a Southpoint homeowner gets a setback exemption. Meanwhile, a stubborn case at 820 Cobb Street is held over once again.
Members present: Billy Higginbotham, chair, Jeffrey Foster, James Riddle, Britt Thames*, Brady Wilson, and Battalion Chief Nickolas Hill.
Members absent: Mike Brandt, vice chair, and Mark Woods.
Transition seat*: With the new council sworn in in November, councilman Britt Thames takes the commission liaison position vacated by outgoing member Fred Hawkins. It is a voting position.
Staff attendance: Donna Bridges, commission secretary and Vanessa McGrath, city Building, Engineering and Zoning Department.
Audience attendance: 7
Carried over an emotion-packed case about a shed placed too close to a sidewalk and property line: This is the third carry-over for the homeowner at 820 Cobb Street, who resented having work stopped on a tool shed he’d placed too close to property lines and commission effort to force compliance. Earlier postponements were granted so all members could visit the site, and later for a new member to also visit the site. Tonight’s postponement was allowed so the homeowner could attend a school function.
Recommended rezoning Carr Avenue property out of Green Springs renewal district so landlords can remodel duplexes: Cynthia and Steven Parris, own duplex units at 316-332 Carr Avenue, which were grandfathered into commercial Green Springs Urban Renewal District zoning adopted in 2004. The owners’ intent to remodel the buildings triggered the non-compliance and they requested a rezoning to R-7, detached dwelling. The recommendation passed unanimously and goes to the council, which will call a separate hearing before voting whether to rezone.
In discussion about the history of the GURD, Ms. McGrath said hearings were held at the Homewood High School because the new city hall wasn’t built and the old council chamber was too small for a crowd. The GURD regulations were passed in conjunction with landscaping and other upgrades along the corridor in part to prevent a proliferation of check cashing and automotive businesses.
Amended a development plan on the old K-Mart property for a new flooring company: Park Grimmer of Grimmer Realty, owner of the Mi Pueblo shopping center, were granted an amended plan for new tenant Floor & Decor to move into the old K-Mart spot at 230 Green Springs Highway. The plan includes a facelift, new front walk, covered pick-up area and loading dock rebuilt for heavier loads. The company plans larger signs, including one facing I-65, which will require a sign variance from the city council.
Combined three divided parcels into one parcel/one lot on Central for a sporting goods store: Commercial property owner Jared Lewis plans to build a 4,800 square foot “Orvis-like” sporting goods retail shop called “Caliber” on his property across Central from Little Donkey and across 28th Avenue South from IronTribe Fitness. The granted resurvey consolidates into one lot his properties at 2822, 2824, & 2826 Central Avenue and facilitates a plan to
build an addition for retail and a covered connection between an adjoining warehouse and the new store, and unify separate lots with lawns, landscaping and parking. The store will carry fishing gear, apparel, and firearms, much like Marks Outdoors in Vestavia, he said, but present a high-end facade of poured concrete, special glass, a tin roof and other impressive architectural finishes to “clean up” the looks of the area–where asphalt is sometimes poured right to the door of businesses.
Lewis said there is already sufficient parking. He said he has been working with the city for some time on converting a portion of Central right-of-way to additional parking, but that is still in the planning stage.
Approved an amended development plan on a split vote for a Southwood Circle residence to build a screen porch: The residence at 801 Southwood Circle in West Homewood is part of a larger subdivision governed by a development plan rather than Neighborhood Preservation District regulations, as is typical. In NPD cases, requests for exemptions are decided by the Board of Zoning Adjustments. Here, the Planning Commission governs adjustments to the rules, and members voted in favor of allowing a covered porch to be built into the rear property line setback. After some discussion, the request to build 4.5 feet from the rear was changed to a more acceptable 10 feet, and passed with one dissenting vote.
Voting no: Azbik.