Veteran’s home efforts to re-open put on hold

Published 3:00 am Friday, September 19, 2014

Efforts to re-open a short-term home for veterans in Troy were put on hold Thursday by a city board.

Jimmy Scott brought a request before the Board of Adjustments seeking a variance to allow him to open a short-term, congregate living facility at 1316 N. Three Notch St.

Scott previously ran the unlicensed Troy Veterans Center at the facility. The state fire marshal’s office ordered the center closed in June, citing several fire code violations. The nearly 15 residents in the facility at the time were relocated.

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Scott said he plans to re-open the facility as a shelter/halfway house of sorts for veterans, ex-prisoners that have completed sentences for non-violent and non-sex related crimes, and others in need of short-term housing and guidance. He said it would be a downsizing of his previous effort.

“I applaud what you are doing to help folks that are in a desperate situation,” Board Vice Chairman Perry Green said. “But I don’t fully understand the way this facility will work. I would like to make a motion for conditional denial of the request, pending guidelines in documentary form, who the board members are (for the organization), so that we can then try to identify an exact use.”

Scott will come before the board at the October meeting to present requested information and guidelines on how the facility will be run.

In other business on Thursday, the board unanimously approved a request for a special exception and a variance for the replacement of a current static billboard face with an electronic billboard face located at 808 U.S. 231 South.

The request was made by the Insite Mediacom, LLC, represented by Mike Bukowski, of Pennsylvania. The company currently owns four static billboard structures in Troy, including the one that will be converted to electronic.

“We have done well here,” Bukowski said. “With this addition, we go to almost double the inventory of faces with just one electronic board. We are driven by the market. This is a large investment. “

Bukowski also said the board could be used for emergency alerts such as amber alerts and emergency routes. “It’s a feature we can provide the city and will offer once it’s up and running,”Bukowski said.

Planning and Zoning administrator Melissa Sanders said the new billboard was in compliance with driver safety guidelines.

“While any sign with flashing movement or flashing lights could be a distraction, the Department of Transportation requires a static display changing no more than every eight seconds,” she said.

The board also approved a request by Darren Stephens of Alabama Landscape Contractors for a special exception to allow the construction and residential use of a single-family dwelling at 112 Sun Street in the C4: Highway Commercial Zoning District.