City rezoning property

Published 12:38 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The city of Atmore recently rezoned a parcel of land in the northern portion of the city, changing it from residential to business.

The 2.5-acre property is located at approximately 101 Ave. B, bordered on the south by Avenue B and on the east by Peachtree Street. The rezoning will change the property’s classification from “R-3 High Density Residential” to “B-2 General Business.”

Atmore city code enforcement officer Greg Vaughn said that the Atmore Planning Commission made the initial recommendation to rezone the property after their Jan. 27 meeting. The rezoning request was then advertised in a local newspaper for the required number of days.

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A public hearing was held before Monday’s meeting of the Atmore City Council, allowing anyone to speak about the issue.

A citizen asked about the difference between B-1 Local Business and B-2 General Business. Vaughn explained that B-1 is usually local “mom-and-pop” stores, while B-2 is typically larger franchises like Kmart.

Another citizen asked whether the rezoning would affect property tax appraisals in the surrounding neighborhood. Vaughn said he did not believe so, because zoning changes do not increase property values. However, he noted that if the property’s value is increased — such as by constructing a new building on the land — it could affect property taxes in the future.

No other citizen chose to speak on the rezoning request issue.

During Monday’s city council meeting, the council unanimously voted to suspend the rules, in order to immediately modify the zoning map. They then unanimously voted in favor of the rezoning, as well. Mayor Jim Staff and city council member Chris Harrison were not in attendance Monday — city council member Webb Nall served as mayor pro tem.

During Monday’s public hearing, Vaughn told the council that about a year ago the city of Atmore underwent a wide-scale rezoning plan, with the intent of creating uniform zoning among property lines.

However, Vaughn said that the Avenue B property in question was inadvertently missed — a portion of it was zoned for General Business, and another portion was zoned for High Density Residential.

He explained that the landowner had recently applied to the city’s planning commission to make the parcel’s zoning consistent.

Vaughn said that all adjacent property owners were sent certified letters, informing them about the proposed rezoning.

“It’s not required, but we do it anyway to be transparent,” Vaughn said.

In other business, the city:

• Re-appointed new terms for Richard Maxwell and Sheilo Faircloth, on the Atmore Industrial Development Board; and for Wayne Gray and Dr. Ullysses McBride, on the West Escambia Utilities Board.

• Tabled a request by the Purple Butterfly Effect Foundation, which asked to use Tom Byrne Park for a lupus benefit walk on May 16. Sandra Gray, who spoke on behalf of the foundation, said it was created by former Atmore resident Tomeka York, who was diagnosed with lupus several years ago.

Gray said that York now lives in Atlanta, and wished to return to Atmore to “do something for her community” to help in the battle to cure lupus. Gray said that York wished to hold other activities in addition to the walk, including a silent auction, live entertainment and vendors.

Gray said that Mayor Staff had received a letter informing him about the request. City council member Chris Walker then asked Gray if the council could consider tabling the issue, until council members had time to talk to Staff about it.

The council unanimously voted to table the issue.