Board delays recommendation on rezoning

Published 7:25 am Wednesday, January 30, 2002

By Staff
Robbie Byrd, News Editor
The city planning board held a public hearing Monday to hear comments from residents on the rezoning of city-owned property and to expand the current Atmore Housing Authority complex on Bragg Street.
The expansion, which would be constructed by Florence based Trustmark contractors and funded in large part by a federal grant, would add 18 more units specifically tailored to handicapped and disabled residents next to the current Bragg Street complex.
The board did not recommend rezoning to the city council, and the project will lie dormant until the next council meeting.
The board met to solicit comments from adjacent landowners about rezoning property next to the current housing authority complex from status R-1, which is a single house zone, to R-3 or multiple family homes. The rezoning would allow the city to move forward in hopes of building the additional housing complex.
According to Mayor Howard Shell, landowners were invited to the hearing via registered letter, but only 3 of the 15 contacted were present at the public hearing.
Dorothy Hubbard, director of the housing authority, said the program could add much needed vacancies to the city's public housing program.
Currently, the housing authority oversees 68 public housing units, built in the 70s, for low and moderate income families and a voucher program that provides up to 70 percent in rent assistance for homes throughout the city.
Hubbard said she is unsure what the income requirements of the new units will be, but does not believe it will be based on income.
Some residents at the meeting expressed concern of the type of residents the housing program could bring in.
Hubbard countered these complaints, saying that all residents of the complex would undergo the same screening process in place now.
Hubbard said that most of the complaints McCorvey voiced had little to do with the complex.
Craig Crawford with Trustmark said the housing authority's job is to maintain the quality of residents. He also said his company would assist the housing authority in making repairs over the course of the new complex's life span.
The planning board will continue to discuss the matter. No date has been set for another public hearing, and the city council is expected to vote on the issue at its next meeting on Feb. 11.

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