Opposition voices concerns in rezoning of property in Leeds, attorney responds

LEEDS — Public hearings were held at a regular meeting, on Monday, Jan. 6, of the Leeds City Council, for several items on the agenda, including a rezoning request from property owners.

The request was to rezone a property at 1730 Jones Street, from R-2 Single Family Residential to R-5 Garden Home District. The request was made by owners Michael and Janie Myrick. They were represented by attorney James Hill, who spoke in favor of passing the ordinance during the public hearing.

Hill responded to opponents who voiced concerns with ingress, egress and drainage. Hill said the city could address those issues, in accordance with state code. He said the property would be subdivided and that engineers would address drainage to prevent “adverse effects” to downstream owners.

However, the ordinance was opposed by multiple people who attended. In the public hearing, a resident, who did not give her name, asked those in the room, of around 25 to 30 people, who opposed the ordinance to stand up. Consequently, Leeds Mayor David Miller asked those in favor to stand. The opposition made up the majority of those who stood.

Leigh Davis and Ann Leithauser, both residents who opposed the ordinance, expressed concerns that rezoning and development of the property would impede ingress and egress with there being one entrance and exit to the area.

The item was brought back up during the regular portion of the meeting. Miller asked if there was a motion to pass it but none on the council responded, causing the ordinance to fail. The ordinance’s failure to pass was met with applause from the audience.

A packet detailing the proposed ordinance can be downloaded and viewed online at the City of Leeds website.

The meeting included highlights of 2019 from the Leeds Jane Culbreth Library. Library Director Melanie Carden reported that there were 72,000 books checked out, as well as 10,000 digital items. She said that an estimated 42,000 came to the library and that it three federal grants totaling $100,000.

The meeting ended with the council considering a tax abatement agreement with Hubbell Power Systems Inc. locations on Moore’s Street and Churchill Avenue. A public hearing was held before the meeting in which no one spoke for or against the ordinance, which was passed unanimously.

Mayor Miller said the company is the largest employer in Leeds and he hopes it will bring more to the city in the future.

“A considerable number of these are high paying engineering jobs,” Miller said. “So, this is going to be a real boom to Leeds.”

In other business, the council:

  • Adopted and ratified city expenditures and payables for the months of November and December
  • Tabled a resolution establishing “post-construction best management practices” for permanent stormwater control structures
  • Approved supplemental insurance benefits for the city’s career firefighters through the Alabama First Responders Benefit program mandated by state law
  • Determined conditions at 1042 Brian Drive to be an annoyance and public nuisance in violation of chapter 32 of the Code of Ordinances
  • Tabled a resolution to consider budget amendments for city projects
  • Approved a contract for animal and pound services
  • Approved awarding a bid for 2020 brush truck fire apparatus,

Approved a $5,000 library collection development grant to Leeds Jane Culbreth Library.

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