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Opp hears re-zoning requests, approves 1

The Opp City Council voted Monday to re-zone one local property, while tabling a re-zoning decision on another property.

City Planner Don Childre brought the recommendations on behalf of the city’s planning board, which met Aug. 13 to discuss the re-zoning requests. The owner of the first property, located at the intersection of Morgan Street and Martin Luther King Drive, requested the property be re-zoned from “R-3” multi-family residential to “B-1” neighborhood business district. The council voted to table the request until the next council meeting, on Tues., Sept. 8.

“This property is located right behind the post office and adjacent to the housing project,” Childre said. “It was zoned for residential use even though it’s not part of the housing project and is not owned by the housing authority. The owner, (Robert Breedlove), has requested that it be re-zoned to allow for commercial development.”

Childre said that “B-1” is the most restrictive of all business district zones and the city has a deadline of 45 days to make a decision.

After several minutes of discussion, the council voted to table the request.

“If it’s not an emergency, I think we should take the time to look at it,” Councilman Jimmy Rogers said.

The owner of the second property, located on the north side of County Highway 22 and just west of the city limits, requested the property be re-zoned from “R-1” single family residential to “O” open spaces.

“Open spaces is basically a common zone for undeveloped property,” Childre said. “In this case, it would allow the placement of a mobile home. An open spaces zone allows any type of structure, as long as the owner has at least a 1-acre lot. This property is 3 acres.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the request.

In other business, the council:

Heard from citizen Aaron Bogan, who voiced concern about a propane storage tank located in a residential neighborhood.

“That’s a state regulated thing,” Mayor H.D. Edgar said. “ADEM (The Alabama Department of Emergency Management) issues the permits; we have no control and no say-so. We do not control ADEM and we do not control the state gas board. You need to take your case to the state.”

Bogan also asked about two recently hired officers with the Opp Police Department, saying that numerous citizens had signed a petition requesting they not be hired.

“We screen our applicants and as far as we’re concerned, they’re good officers,” Edgar said.

Heard from Frankie McCarty, who owns property located on Jean Avenue and asked why the city had “dug up 10 trees that I planted.”

Edgar explained the city had an easement by prescription to clear out a ditch on the property. At the July 20 council meeting, neighbor Janie Mitchell had requested the city help alleviate a drainage problem behind her house on Jean Avenue.

“Why are you singling me out,” McCarty asked. “Why don’t you clear the whole ditch out?”

Edgar said the city is not yet finished clearing out the ditch and will continue working on it. McCarty responded by saying he would ask the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to look into the matter.

Approved the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the standard for incident management in Opp. According to the city’s resolution, NIMS is a federal program that “provides standardized procedures for managing personnel, communications, facilities and resources (to) improve the county’s ability to utilize federal funding to enhance local agency readiness, maintain first responder safety and streamline incident management processes.”

Childre explained the city would have to approve NIMS in order to be eligible for certain state and federal emergency-based funding and grants.