BY RON HARRIS, DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE
Jasper City Council members approved a rezoning request Tuesday morning despite a public outcry against the request from residents living near the property.
The request to rezone the property, which came from property owner Eddie Miller, involves changing the zoning classificationfrom R-1 (single family residential) to B-2 (community service) at the corner of West Ridgewood Road and Alabama Highway 257.
Miller has plans to open asmall, used-car dealership on the property. That has drawn opposition from numerous residents living near the property.
Council member Sonny Posey made the motion to adopt the rezoning request, and the measure passed by a 3-1 vote. Councilmember Danny Gambrell cast the lone vote against the rezoning request.Read more ...
The Jasper Zoning Commission, at its Feb 16 meeting, gave no recommendation on the request.
Among the chief concerns of residents about the placement of abusiness on the property are the possibility of decreased property values and safety issues caused by increased traffic. They also cite the neighborhood’s heritage and how abusiness would adversely affect that.
“We’re concerned because this is a residential area,” said Carla Lightsey, who lives close to the property.
Lightsey said numerous residentsin the neighborhood have signed petitions and attended meetings to express their disapproval with therezoning request. Many of the residents living along West Ridgewood Road were in attendance at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The request for rezoning the property was amended at some point todecrease the property size from 3.7 acres to 1.7 acres, Lightsey said, but that did little to satisfy propertyowners opposing the request.
“It’s still the same piece of property,” she said, “and it’s still the same issues we oppose.”
“We are here today to object to thisproposal ... and we’re here today to ask you to save our community. We want to preserve the character and integrity and heritage of the Bankhead Farmstead community,”added Judy Estes. “We’re totallyagainst this.
”Many of those objecting to the rezoning are second and third generation residents of the community, Estes said. “They’ve not only lived here, but they’ve raised families here, they’ve seen their parents die here and they want to preserve the right to continue this for future generations.
”Louise Zimmer, a second generation resident of the Farmstead community, said her concerns lie withhow dangerous the area is becauseof traffic already. A traffic study in 2004-2005 showed more than 2,000 vehicles already travel along WestRidgewood Road, she said.
A new business would only add to that traffic congestion, she said. “Istand on the side of safety, and would like to see you deny his request.”
“Let’s preserve community overcommercialization,” added Julia Lightsey, whose parents live in the neighborhood.
In other business, council mem-bers:
•approved minutes of the March 7meeting.
•approved parade permits for the fifth annual Out of School Alternative Jam, set for May 27; and for the Pregnancy Test and Resource Center’s ‘Toss for Life’ cornhole tournament fundraiser set for June 17.
•introduced an amendment to thecity’s budget related to the GeneralFund.
•adopted a resolution for reim-bursement for a roads project.The resolution came at the re-quest of the city’s bond attorney.
•heard a report from city purchasing agent Derleda Abrom on bids received for asphalt cold mix, pool chemicals, portable toilets and redrock.
•heard from Abrom, who requested permission to renew contracts for concession workers at thecity’s parks and recreation department.
•adopted a resolution to allowMayor David O’Mary to sign a memorandum of understanding to re-move an unsafe structure located at 513 Hillsdale Road.
•adopted a resolution to allowO’Mary to sign all contracts for the 2017 Foothills Festival. The contracts include agreements with entertainers at the event, as well as vendors and other participants.
•adopted a resolution to allowO’Mary to enter into an agreementwith McGehee Engineering for design of a project on 22nd Street East.
•adopted an ordinance to amend the city’s Video Services Agreementwith AT&T. The current franchiseagreement expires in December, and the council’s move extends the deal for 10 years
Located in northwest Alabama on Interstate Highway 22, Jasper is a thriving retail hub, center of growing industrial development and home to approximately 14,000 residents. Enjoying one of the top ranked education systems in the State of Alabama, ongoing renovated Park & Recreation programs and its close proximity to the outstanding recreation areas such as Smith Lake, Bankhead National Forest and the Warrior River makes it an attractive area for relocation. Mayor David O'Mary would like to welcome you to our city and web site.