Westover zoning change up for another public hearing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Westover Town Council will once again hold a public hearing on an amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance concerning the continuance of nonconforming structures.

The Town Council had a first reading on the ordinance change recommended by the town’s Planning Commission at its Aug. 2 meeting and set the public hearing for 7 p.m. on Aug. 16.

On Dec. 21, the town of Westover adopted a zoning ordinance. However, the council requested the town’s Planning Commission resolve language specific to clarifying the continued use of non-conforming structures.

On May 17, however, the council went ahead with authorization of building permits to be issued for the repair and replacement of grandfathered structures.

Since the Planning Commission had recommended to the town council that non-conforming uses be continued, the commission voted unanimously at the June 28 meeting to make certain clarifications in the ordinance.

Mayor Mark McLaughlin explained the problem to be resolved by the Planning Commission’s action.

&uot;The ordinance said non conforming uses can be continued. Things that are here today can stay. It can be continued as long as it is re-established within a one-year period,&uot; McLaughlin said.

However, he said, the ordinance also said if a structure were destroyed beyond 75 percent, it could not be replaced and that was a conflict the council did not intend.

He said the &uot;focus&uot; of the town’s zoning ordinance has been new growth, not about homes already here.

The resolution of the planning commission to clarify continued use of nonconforming structures, which was presented to the council on July 19, includes:

Section 1: Strike Article XI Section 111.00 Sub-section C, &uot;rebuilt, altered or repaired after damage exceeding 75 percent of its fair market value immediate prior to damage.&uot;

Section 2: Article XI Section 111 Nonconforming use to read, &uot;Any nonconforming use or structure may be continued but except upon approval of the Board of Zoning Adjustments as provided in Article XIII, such use shall not be:

&uot;A. re-established after discontinuance for one year;

&uot;B. extended except in conformity to this ordinance.&uot;

In another matter the council approved the annexation of two properties owned by Alabama Power totaling 106 acres north of Highway 280.

The council also heard from Denice Howard regarding the possibility of Westover splitting the cost of a deputy with Indian Springs Village.

She asked why businesses outside the town should be taxed for police protection. She called that &uot;taxation without representation.&uot;

She also suggested that the money could be used for other needs such a fire hydrants and requested the town council conduct a survey of residents on the matter.

McLaughlin said the town has applied to the Shelby County EMA for a $13,000 FEMA grant to purchase a weather siren.

He also announced that the town is not placing any fliers residents’ mailboxes.

Councilmember Larry Riggins reported that sewer pipe is being laid on Highway 280 almost to the town limits on the southside. He also said the sewer is on a fast track in Vincent to the high school and the elementary school