Emerson denies rezoning requests
by Jessica Loeding
Mar 27, 2012 | 1486 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a meeting where residents begged for neighborhood quality after a local business requested rezoning for expansion purposes, the Emerson City Council voted down three rezoning requests.

The Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended denying the rezoning of three pieces of property -- 0.5 acres at 43 Gaston Westbrook Ave., 1.41 acres at 105 2nd St. and 0.723 acres at 647 Highway 293.

During the public hearings for the first two rezonings, residents of Georgia Avenue spoke out against the plans by Leisure Time, a charter motorcoach business located at 73 Gaston Westbrook Ave., to use the Gaston Westbrook and Second Street properties to expand parking and turnaround space for the company.

One neighbor urged the council to consider the quality of the neighborhood and pointed to the noise and smell from the buses as a potential problem.

Another Georgia Avenue resident said the council should consider future plans for the property because, once the property was rezoned, the council would have no control over what occurred on the land.

Brenda Tidwell, Leisure Time owner and city councilman, said that the business was asking only to "move one block." She pointed to her years in business, saying the company was not going anywhere and the buses would "be there 'til I die."

Leisure Time currently has 15 buses and said no additional buses would have been added.

In other business, the council voted to approve changes to the city's sign ordinance. Councilmen also gave approval to a resolution authorizing the purchase of four 2008 Ford F350 trucks to be used by public works and water and sewer. The money for the vehicles will come from reserve funds.

A measure on the building code was postponed.

City Manager Kevin McBurnett announced that HB 1097, which deals with a Community Improvement District in Emerson, passed the state Senate and now moves on to the governor.

McBurnett also reminded motorists that Old Alabama Road is set to be improved, but due to the complexity of the project, which includes electrical and residential problems, the work is expected to take about three weeks to complete. The city closed the road to thru traffic and recommends motorists use the Old Alabama Road Bypass.