Columbiana to set aside rezoning vote

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A special called meeting of the Columbiana City Council is expected today to set aside a rezoning vote for certain properties along Mitchell Road.

The Columbiana City Council recently narrowly approved a rezoning request for certain properties along that road to be rezoned for residential mobile homes.

But according to City Attorney Conrad Flower, in his opinion, the vote was not valid.

And in light of that opinion, Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe said he intended to call as special meeting today to set aside the vote.

The council voted three to two rezone certain properties on Mitchell Road from R1 Single Residential to Residential Mobile Home at its Dec. 6 regular meeting.

Voting in favor of the action were Lowe and Councilmembers Tim Billingsley and Frieda Abrams.

Voting against the action were Councilmembers Tom Seale and Ouida Mayfield. Councilmember Danny Kelley was absent.

Seale said he opposed the action because he felt the council would be setting a precedent so that it would be tough to turn down a similar request in the future.

Mayfield said she felt the same as Councilmember Seale, but in addition, she said, a number of people asked her to oppose it.

Lowe said later that City Attorney Conrad Fowler was looking into the rezoning vote.

And when contacted, Fowler said according to Section 11-25 2B of the Code of Alabama, because of the permanent operation of the ordinance voted upon, a vote of four persons in favor was required. And because the vote was 3-2, Fowler called it null.

The rezoning had been recommended

to the council from the Planning and Zoning Commission on a 4-3 vote.

It was reported that 30 percent of the homes in the area are manufactured and under the previous zoning, those could not be replaced if something happened to them.

Lowe said he favored the mobile home rezoning only because he had committed his support to Sue Wells, who requested it. He said he told Wells he would do what he could to support her in getting her daughter a place. But he said at the time it did not involve rezoning,

Lowe said based on trends, manufactured homes versus stick built homes do not hold their value.

&8220;I see Columbiana having to modify its current zoning classifications to better accommodate the growth, which we are now seeing. And I cannot see me supporting any rezoning in the future to allow more residential mobile home area

with the city,&8221; Lowe said.

He continued, &8220;The couple that approached me and which started this entire rezoning issue are people of good character, and I do not have any doubts that their property will be maintained as good or better than anyone else’s in the city. However, our ordinances and rules are not made for the people who threat their neighbors and property with respect. It’s made for the very small number of people who do not take care of their property, which adversely affects their neighbors’ property value.&8221;

Wells said the county jail and a shooting range are in her area and she was not asked about it. She said her neighbors signed a petition for the mobile homes and now the city is trying to find a loophole because they don’t like mobile homes