Zoning Board approves Main Ave./8th St. N.E. variance contingent on City Council’s upcoming vote

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Home of the future Monograms Plus shopping center at Main Avenue and 8th Street (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The City of Cullman Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals met on Monday evening with all members present and one item on the agenda.

The variance request for the property where the Factory Dance Productions was previously housed, and two residential homes sat was for rear setbacks and parking space requirements. The property is located on the southwest corner of Main Avenue NE and 8th Street N.E., a busy thoroughfare to both Cullman High School and Cullman Middle School during school session and for trucking industries in the area.

Lynsey Todd, proprietor of Monograms Plus since 2018 when longtime owners Margaret and Mark Hamm sold the business, explained her request.

“The property is a bit of an odd-shaped space with a city alley running through the middle. We have tried pretty much so every way you can put something on that land to avoid having to ask for a variance. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t make it fit. We’re very close, really just six parking spaces shy so we still have 53 parking spaces of the 59 requirement and, of the 12-foot setback, we have eight feet of that so we’d just be four foot shy of that to be able to fit this there.”

Todd went on to assure the board of her good intentions with the property.

“My thoughts in this were it’s not a great looking part of town and I really wanted it to be. They’re building on the middle school there and working on that greenway that kind of meets that and it’s going to be a beautiful area.

“The spot we took over were two burned out houses that weren’t great looking. We’ve already taken those down and a concrete block building that used to be the House of Shoes that hadn’t been there in quite some time. At that time, it was a vacant building,” he explained. “We’re going to build a beautiful, small shopping center on that where Monograms Plus will be moving to mainly because we need space, more parking. If we could have gotten those extra parking spaces, I would have been behind that big time. We’d love to move over that way mainly because it’s only a couple of blocks from where we are now, and we’d still be considered downtown area.”

He continued, “I really just think it’d be an asset to that area right there especially for people coming to visit that new school. You don’t want them driving by not-so-great looking houses and some rundown old buildings. That was my thoughts on that. If I can beautify it, that’s something I’d really like to do.”

Todd explained that her variance request is to accommodate the delivery vans and vehicles coming to and from her store and others in the shopping center. The hope is providing area for the trucks to park off-street to unload would not create a hindrance to the highly trafficked streets of Main Avenue and 8th Street N.E.

The site plan, already approved by the City of Cullman Planning Commission, is set to go before the vote at Cullman City Council in July. The zoning board’s unanimous approval on Monday is contingent upon the city council passing the rezoning from B1/R3 to B2.

The zoning board meets on the third Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.

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