Alabaster council approves zoning changes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Following a public hearing and lengthy debate advanced by City Councilmember Jerry Workman, the Alabaster Council recently approved the Peavine Creek Overlay district, which allows for apartments with amenities, buffers and other land uses.

At issue was a piece of property off County Road 11, described as unattractive and located near railroad tracks.

According to media reports, the district covers 37 acres where Maverick Enterprises plans to build apartments.

Developer Kenneth Carter said the proposed area included 44 acres of a several hundred-acre project.

Councilmember Tommy Ryals said the council was concerned with the entire area where property uses, he said, need to flow and transition together.

Ryals explained that the proposed overlay district would include restrictions to preserve a lake and reduce access to Highway 11.

City Administrator Tony Rivera spoke about 30-foot buffers that would be in place as well as an eight-foot solid wood fence along the railroad tracks.

In addition, he spoke of restrictions in zones that would eliminate many businesses to control access to County Road 11.

However he noted that the district would allow for office space and warehouses.

He also spoke of landscaping and amenities (in connection with apartments) such as tennis pools and tennis courts that must be included.

Despite concerns expressed by Workman and citizens, a motion by Ryals with a second from Councilmember Jim McClain to approve the overlay district passed with Councilmember Angela Moseley abstaining and Workman voting &8220;no.&8221;

While one Alabaster resident told the council the overlay district was a great idea, other citizens were not as convinced.

Todd Goode spoke of the impact from additional children on the school system and traffic safety.

While Workman offered alternative zoning changes for the area to the overlay district, Mayor David Frings questioned the council changing with the stroke of a pen something that a city planner, supposedly an expert, had

already worked out.

Prior to the vote on the Peavine Overlay District, the council held another public hearing and voted 6-1 to approve a change in the zoning ordinance regarding the temporary use of property.

According to Ryals, with the change, churches located in B-3 (business) and M-1 (light industrial) zones may operate temporarily in those zones.

Rivera said the change allows use of otherwise empty buildings at night and weekends by churches and theaters when other businesses are not open.

He said letters of agreement would be required from adjacent businesses and permits for temporary use would be for up to two years.

The change would also allow signage for those along the interstate and the use of additional buildings.

Workman said he opposed the change because it opens up the use of property for two years.

One change was approved unanimously when the council held a public hearing and voted to amend its business license schedule to include the category of wine manufacturer.

In other matters, the council voted to allow DLS Construction in Alabaster to renovate the train depot to include more office space and a larger public area.

The project will cost some $14,970 and will be completed by the end of the moth.

The council awarded the bid to T&B Fence for fence replacement at three fields in Warrior Park at a cost of some $57,437. The work is expected to be complete in 21 days.

The council set a work session for Jan. 12 at 6 p.m.

And the council will hold a public meeting on the results of its school feasibility study on Monday, Jan. 23.

According to Council President Rick Walters, the meeting will be open to the public at the city&8217;s municipal annex and is not a council session.

Instead, he said, Les Helton of H&H Consultants would give a report on the study at the municipal annex at 6 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.

The council contracted with the firm to conduct a study on the feasibility of the city operating its own school system.

Alabaster City Hall will be closed Monday, Jan. 16 for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.&8217;s birthday. And the City Council will hold its next regular meeting on Jan. 17