Gateway corridor public hearing ends amid confusion

It was the public hearing that wasn’t.

After about 45 minutes, Montevallo Mayor Grady Parker called for the end of a public hearing Monday night when it could not be determined at the time who was responsible for calling the meeting in the first place.

Parker and City Clerk Steve Gibbs said they did not call a public hearing on recommendations from the city’s Planning and Zoning Board for a Gateway Corridor Overlay District prior to the start of the regular Monday, Feb. 10 City Council meeting.

Montevallo Planning and Zoning Board Chairman Robert Doyle also said his group did not call for the public hearing.

However, the Reporter was given a copy of a notice on city of Montevallo letterhead calling for the meeting. At least one person in attendance said a sign for the public hearing was posted on his property for the 7 p.m. Feb. 10 event.

According to the notice, &uot;The Montevallo City Council will be examining the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board for an overlay on the Highway 119 corridor on Monday night, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the regular council meeting. You are invited to come and to express your concerns.&uot;

Gibbs said the meeting had been recommended by the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission. However, no one at Montevallo City Hall would take credit for calling the meeting.

Parker suggested during the ill-fated hearing that abruptly came to a close after about 45 minutes that in the future, signatures will be necessary before notices go out.

During the discussion that was held, questions were raised over how the possible future four-laning of Highway 119

would affect setback distances that would be established in the

overlay zone.

Others said they did not object to what the overlay district called for, but they did not like the idea of being told what to do with their property.

Mimi Lawley raised the question as to why the overlay district was singled out of a whole plan that had been in the process of being developed for the city for months.

It was also brought out during the abbreviated hearing, however, that the Montevallo Planning Commission will hold a hearing at Montevallo City Hall at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 for the purpose of upgrading and amendment of the Montevallo’s Zoning Regulations Ordinance and Zoning Map.

The Montevallo Gateway Corridor Overlay District would be &uot;established to preserve, protect and maintain the aesthetic, cultural, historical, scenic, architectural and other significant element of the Highway 119 corridor into the city of Montevallo.&uot;

It would be &uot;intended to ensure that this major access corridor is developed and maintained in a harmonious and compatible manner, and is intended to encourage the

improvement of the architectural and visual character of this corridor.&uot;

The boundaries, if approved, would be generally along Highway 119 from Moore’s Crossroads south to Cherokee Street. Offsets from the respective rights of way would be:

Agricultural/Open Space 80 feet; American Village, northern boundary to the city’s lift station, 200 feet, and from the city’s lift station to the southern bound of American Village property 80 feet; Gateway Transition Commercial, 40 feet; and all other zoning classifications 40 feet.

Other elements of the district would include preservation of greenspace and natural environment and fence regulations.

Split rail, rail, picket, wood post and barbed-wire fences would be allowed in association with agricultural rural areas, but additional chain-link fences would not be permitted parallel to Highway 119 unless shield by vegetation.

The overlay would require that no new improvements be made except as provided under the fences section above ponds, walks, drives and similar elements