Alabaster turns down rezoning for apartments

To thunderous

applause and cheers, the Alabaster City Council narrowly rejected a request by Ashbury Associates LTD to rezone about 11-and-a-half acres for an apartment complex off Highway 119.

The council voted 4-3 last Monday night to deny the request to rezone the property located near an auto salvage yard from municipal reserve to R-6. The change had been recommended by the Alabaster Planning and Zoning Board on a 4-2 vote.

Brad Rounsaville, attorney for Ashbury Associates, told the council the private apartments would be of one-, two- and three-bedroom size renting at rates of $425, $500 and $600, respectively.

He also said residents of the apartments would be limited to incomes of between $22,000 and $41,000.

Several residents spoke for and against the apartment complex with the majority expressing opposition based on the impact on traffic, the environment and what they saw as the future development needs of the area.

Scottie Hawkins, owner of the auto salvage business near where the apartments would have been located, said, &uot;I’m for the people and whatever they want.&uot;

He said if the council was basing its decision on what is located in the area, he planned to abolish his salvage business within the year.

&uot;I’m so much for the people (his auto salvage business) is going to be gone because it is not right for the community,&uot; he said.

Councilmember Bobby Harris said: &uot;I’ve tried for some time to bring apartments into the city.

&uot;We are asking for a diverse city. When asking for diversity, you are going to have to make place for diversity. I’m going on record for these apartments …&uot;

Councilmember Tommy Ryals said the Zoning Board voted the way it did because of what was in the area.

However, he said, he voted &uot;no&uot; because of the way he felt the people of his ward wanted him to go.

Councilmember Adam Moseley said the city needs apartments but that he was not sure that the proposed location was the right place. He called the decision on the rezoning request the toughest in his two years on the council.

Councilmember Henry Hines pointed out that the property would generate about $37,000 in taxes as opposed to $1,200 now.

The Planning and Zoning Board approved the apartment request with Jack Zuiderhoek and Ryals opposed and Mike Allen, chairman Bob Shimpaugh, Kenny Hill and Larry Burdette in favor.

The council vote was Hines, yes; Moseley, no; Ryals, no; Jim McClain, yes; Michael Sherwood, no; Harris, yes; and council president Rick Walters, no.

In other matters, the council:

Continued a public hearing on an ordinance to amend the nuisance ordinance and an ordinance concerning speed humps until Oct. 7. Neither was ready for action last Monday night.

Unanimously approved a request from Rayburn Carter to rezone 2.26 acres from B-3 neighborhood business to R-4 (patio or garden homes of 1,400 square feet) and 14.66 acres from agriculture to patio or garden homes. The property is located across from the Acura dealership. Some of the property will remain zoned for neighbor business on Highway 119.

Approved a street light request for Highway 119 and two decorative street lights for Cedar Grove and Sterling Gate.

In addition to its work session for Sept. 19 at 6 p.m., the council added worked sessions for Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 3 at 6 p.m.

Unanimously approved a request from Mayor David Frings to spend up to $10,000 for sand and sod and up to $10,000 for paving a drive and parking lot and a related area at Youth Six Soccer Field. It was pointed out the money is already in the budget for this work.

Frings also reported that a public forum on mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at the municipal annex