Opp denies request for rezoning

Published 8:42 pm Monday, July 21, 2014

Members of the Opp City Council drew applause from a packed council chamber Monday during their regular meeting after denying a request for the rezoning of a residential property.

The council heard from Brad Gooden, who had formally requested a change in zoning at his property located at the corner of Cotton Street and Old Perry Store Road from R-1 (single-family dwelling) to R-3 (multi-family dwelling). Gooden was also on hand at Monday’s meeting, where he explained to council members his plans for the property.

“I had this question once before about six years ago and people were lined up to the drug store with a bucket of tar and a bag of feathers,” Gooden said, before explaining his desire to building “townhouses or duplexes” on his property. “My intent is not to put in anything that’s going to bring undesirable people into Opp. What I want to do is to put something in there that anyone would be proud to live in.”

Gooden also said he did not plan to introduce government housing to the areas.

“I plan to get free-market financing from a local bank, hopefully,” he said. “This is not going to be government funded.”

During a brief public hearing on the matter following Gooden’s remarks, the council heard multiple objections to the requests from residents of the neighborhood surrounding Gooden’s property.

“I was one of the first people to build in that neighborhood in 1963,” said James Kilpatrick. “We’ve always has a quiet neighborhood.”

Jeffery Bradley said he lives on nearby Champion Street and also expressed a fear of the effects of multi-family dwelling on the neighborhood.

“I’m opposed to this because we live in a single-dwelling neighborhood, and I’d like to see it stay that way,” Bradley said. “That many people, there’s no way there’s not going to be trouble. I don’t care how good a landlord you are.”

Jason Bedsole said his property borders Gooden’s and he was concerned about the possible depreciation of his property value.

“It’s a little scary to me,” Bedsole said. “Are we talking three people? Are we talking 15 people? I would just rather see a home there; something that wouldn’t decrease the property value of my home, at least.”

Jimmy Wise, who also lives on Champion Street, said he knows the kind of renters that often occupy the kind of structures Gooden aims to build.

“I’m ex military and I’ve lived in duplexes,” Wise said. “I have family members that have gone to Troy and lived in these places. I know what young people are going to do. They’re going to trash the property. I’m opposed to everything that’s not single-family dwelling.”

Following the hearing, Councilman Arlin Davis, of District 5 where the property is located, said the people had clearly spoken.

“I’ve set it once before regarding this matter and I’ll say it again, “ Davis said. “Majority rules.”

The council voted unanimously to deny the rezoning request.