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Brundidge council accepts rezoning after split decision

The Brundidge City Council disregarded the recommendation of the city’s planning commission Tuesday night and voted in favor of a request by Nathaniel Shackleford to rezone property at 405 North Main Street from B-1 Neighborhood Commercial District to a B-2 Community Commercial District.

The rezoning request was made in an effort to allow Shackleford to buy and sell used cars and work on vehicles on the property.

Prior to the regular council meeting, a public hearing was held to allow input from the property owner and adjacent property owners. No one attended, however, a letter of opposition was filed from a property owner.

The Brundidge Planning Commission’s recommendation to the council was that the request for the rezoning be denied.

The request was brought to the table for consideration. Council Member Byron Gaynor, District 4, said the city needs new businesses. However, Council Member Margaret Ross, District 3, made a motion to deny the request based on the planning commission’s recommendation. The motion died due to the lack of a second.

The request was put to a vote and resulted in a tie with Arthur Lee Griffin, District 2; Gaynor and Mayor Isabell Boyd voting yes. Ross, Betty Baxter, District 1 and Chris Foster, District 5, voted no. On a second vote, Foster did not vote, breaking the tie. 

Baxter, who also serves on the city’s planning commission, said Shackleford plans to buy old cars and fix them up for sale on the property and also work on cars.  She said the city’s planning commission voted to deny the request because there is not adequate space on the property for that type business and also compromises safe exiting from First Avenue onto North Main Street.

Baxter said the lot is on the corner of First Avenue and any cars parked on the lot could obstruct the view of motorists who were attempting to exit the side street onto Main Street.

“With the amount of traffic that we have on Main Street, this would be dangerous for people trying to turn out on Main Street,” she said. “This lot is just too small for a business like that.”

Other concerns, she said, included vehicle traffic in and out of the car lot and the devaluing of adjacent residential property.

“I want new business to come to Brundidge, but I want it to make the town better,” she said.

Ross said Baxter had made her concerns known to all the council members.

“I was surprised that we did not comply with the recommendation of the planning commission,” she said. “They had studied and researched the request and determined it was not in the best interest of the city. I don’t know why we have a planning commission if we are not going to support their recommendations.”

Boyd said Brundidge needs to move forward. “We can’t sit back in ancient days,” she said.

In other business, the council heard from Martha Griffin, a member of the city’s revitalization committee.

Griffin said Montgomery architect Paul Butler, a former Brundidge resident, has made a recommendation for a sports wall in Brundidge. The wall would feature the names of athletes from Brundidge who have achieved prominence in the sports arena.

She said. Bishop S.D. James, a local community leader, has championed the idea and the committee is working toward making the sports wall a reality.

“We are in the process of beginning to raise funds for the sports wall,” Griffin said. “A T-shirt has been designed using a drawing by Paul Butler. The shirts are on sale for $20. And, we will also have a Boston butt sale on Easter weekend.”

The funds from both sales will be seed money for the sports wall project. Griffin said the location for the wall has not been determined. But plans are for it to be located in the downtown area in an effort to bring people into the downtown area.

The council congratulated Sgt/Investigator Charles Beasley of the Brundidge Police Department on being recognized by Central Alabama CrimeStoppers as a 2018 CrimeStopper of the Year. Beasley has been in law enforcement for 33 years, 19 of those years with the Brundidge Police Department.

The Brundidge City Council meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Brundidge City Hall. The meetings are open to the public.