Guntersville is growing and that’s bringing a rash of developers seeking rezoning for new developments.
Two went before the Planning Commission Tuesday night and they set hearings for four more for the coming month.
The Planning Commission doesn’t have the final say on rezoning. They recommend to the City Council and the Council has the final say. On Monday night’s hearing, one got a recommendation to approve and one to not approve. The full Planning Commission was not present. Members who were included Matt Sellnow, Michael Oliver, Wright Ross, Larry Wilson and chairman Stewart White.
Zack Farris sought to rezone property at 2195 Taylor Street from RS-2 to RM-1, allowing a townhome development. That’s the steep lot on the corner of Hill and Taylor.
Farris explained that he bought the property to build a second home on. But as he thought more about it – and the cost to develop on such a steep lot – townhomes made more sense.
He proposes to access the half-acre property from Hill Avenue and acknowledged that might not be the best location due to the crest of the hill, but said it would be more economical to develop it with the access there.
Only one person in attendance spoke during the hearing, longtime neighbor Patty Gurley, who lives directly across Taylor from the property. She asked if any of the brush and trees would be left.
Farris said they would not. He did say a retaining wall would be built on the corner and some greenery might be grown along it.
His plans showed at least 6 townhomes on the property. But that density might not be allowed, board member Michael Oliver pointed out, under city development regulations. He said it might be more like 4.
“That’s something you’re going to want to talk to your architect about before you get too far along,” Chairman White said.
Farris said he thought the development would work even with just 4 units. He did point out that the former King property catty-corner from his property is also zoned multifamily. An apartment building once stood there.
The discussion between Farris and Gurley was very cordial, very neighborly, unlike what is usually seen in such public hearings.
Matt Sellnow made a motion to recommend that the Council approve the rezoning. Wright Ross seconded. It passed on a 4-1 with Larry Wilson voting against it. He will get to vote again on the matter since he is also a City Councilman and serves as the Council liaison on the Planning Commission.
Wilson thought the entrance on Hill posed a danger and he’d prefer to see it on Taylor.
Ethan Whitaker sought to rezone property located on O’Brig Avenue and Evangel Circle from RS-2 to RM-1 in order to build a two-unit duplex style townhome.
He said they would be nice townhomes in keeping with the aesthetic of the rest of the neighborhood.
After hearing his plans, the Planning Commission voted to recommend it not be approved. Wilson said it would amount to spot zoning since nothing touching that property is zoned RM-1.
White did note that the Council has the final say, not the Planning Commission. The vote to recommend it not be approved passed unanimously.
Coming attractions for the Planning Commission include:
• A public hearing on resubdivision of property at 1551 Signal Point owned by JCKS Properties LLC.
• Rezoning 320 Blount Avenue from BG-1A to central business district. Oliver pointed out that parking requirements don’t apply to the central business district. That’s the zoning like the rest of Northtown has. White said it also allows people to live on the same premises where they conduct business.
• The same rezoning was sought for 330 and 326 Blount Avenue. Those 3 properties are believed to be the pink house and the green house next to Town Hall where a new social club and other businesses are going in.