Cullman Council tables vote on disputed rezoning of Morningside Drive property

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Attorney Albert Boykin speaks to the council on behalf of Morningside Drive residents Leonard and Linda Romine at Monday night’s meeting. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

 

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council Monday night was scheduled to vote on a rezoning request that has been the subject of controversy for months at council and City of Cullman Planning Commission meetings.  The 10-acre property, located at the intersection of Morningside Drive Southwest and Main Avenue Southwest, is currently zoned for single-family residences, and the owners have requested that the zoning be changed to allow for the construction of an apartment complex at the site.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Cullman-based real estate developer Eddie Canaday, whose company would be involved in the development, spoke in favor of the rezoning, citing a recent study which concluded that Cullman is in need of high-density residences for younger families, to support the area’s workforce needs.  He tried to assure the audience that any development on the site would be of high quality and would take current area residents’ concerns into account.

Attorney Albert Boykin, who spoke at last week’s council meeting on behalf of Morningside Drive residents, came back this week to reiterate his earlier statements that rezoning the site would violate the principles that underlie Cullman’s own zoning ordinance.  Morningside resident Jeff Harper, who also spoke last week, returned to address the council once again, challenging Canaday to put up a bond guaranteeing that he will fulfill the promises he made about the quality of the development.

Following the second reading of the ordinance (No. 2019-11) “to rezone 10 acres located on Main Avenue SW and Morningside Drive SW from R-2 Residential District to R-4 Residential District which received a favorable recommendation from the City of Cullman Planning Commission,” when the request came up for a vote, City Attorney Roy Williams spoke up, advising the council to seek written input from each city department with opinions on the rezoning and development.

Said Williams, “I don’t believe that either side of this question has fully informed the council as to what information y’all need to make this serious decision . . . If y’all feel that you have enough information to make a decision, make a decision then.  I don’t believe that either side has provided–they provided you with feelings and suggestions, and their thoughts, and their fears, but neither side has provided y’all with information sufficient to determine which zone it should be or whether it should be rezoned.”

During Williams’ comments, one member of the audience was heard to say, “Delay again.”

Councilman Clint Hollingsworth made a motion to table the request until the council’s next meeting on May 13.  The motion was approved unanimously.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com