Lee County Zoning Regulations Amended

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BY HANNAH LESTER
HLESTER@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

The zoning regulations adopted by the Lee County Planning Commission in May were amended Monday night by the Lee County Commission.

The zoning regulations were originally enacted by the newly-formed planning commission in response to the potential Creekwood Resources, LLC quarry in Beulah.

Beat 13 has been zoned in the regulations since May 18, when a special-called election was held.

Originally the regulations included two districts, RC Rural Center District and RU Rural Use District. Now, after amending, the regulations include the following designations: RC Rural Center District, CR Corridor District, RP Rural Preserve District and SP Special District.

“We had a lot of back and forth with the planning commission and what I told them is, ‘your job is to write the regulations through me.’” said Jim Lehe, a Birmingham consultant. “So I paid attention to what they wanted. So I made a lot of changes here that aren’t so obvious. And discussed with them what kind of zoning regulations they want. They wanted, in their terms, minimal regulations because it’s new.”

The RC district are “clusters of commercial activity that serve the surrounding rural community,” the regulations state. “Higher intensity development and institutional uses are encouraged within these rural centers.”

CR districts often contain highway frontage properties and transition areas.

“Compatability with adjacent, low density residential and agricultural uses, across management, and avoidance of commercial sprawl are key objectives within this district,” the regulations state.

The RP district is based on more rural land — farmland, agriculture and forestry — as well as suburban.

“These rural residential areas are suitable for low density subdivisions of single family residences, sparsely scattered dwellings on large lots, and affordable housing options, including manufactured  housing,” the regulations state.

There are other permitted uses, such as churches or community centers.

The SP district — special districts — mean exactly what the name implies — special uses.

The SP district isn’t mapped until it’s utilized, Lehe said. Special uses would include things like a junkyard or quarry.

The SP districts need approval from both the planning commission and Lee County Commission.

The regulations, which can be found online in the Lee County Commission Agenda Packet, give a list of permitted uses in each zone.

A list of definitions, exceptions, rules and information can also be found in the regulations.

The Lee County Planning Commission also now has a website available: leecountyplanning.com.

Monday afternoon, Creekwood Resources, LLC, announced online that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Agency had granted the final needed permit for the quarry — the storm water permit.

ADEM had already previously granted the needed air permit.

Now, having received the two permits does not automatically mean a quarry will come to Beulah. Now that Beat 13 is zoned, the use of a quarry is not permitted in that area.

When questioned about the quarry during the commission meeting, Probate Judge Bill English said that there is a lot happening behind the scenes regarding the quarry.

Additionally, due to legal action, English said he could not share much about the fight against the quarry.

Other Business:

– The Lee County Commission recognized District 2 Commissioner Sarah Brown’s completion of the educational program through the Association of County Commissions of Alabama

– The Lee County Commission recognized District 1 Commissioner Doug Cannon’s completion of the educational program through the Association of County Commissions of Alabama

– The Lee County Commission recognized English’s 20 years of service in county government by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

– The Lee County Commission recognized Representative Joe Lovvorn, along with Senator Randy Price for their work on the ‘Safer Places’ statewide for sever weather events SB43/HB143.

– The commission established a 25 mph speed zone in Lee County Subdivisions and on roads that are less than half a mile.

– The commission approved an Opelika Main Street request to maintain a historical marker and landscape in Opelika.

– The commission approved a business license software with Ingenuity.

– The commission approved a retail beer and table wine license application for Backwaters Restaurant D4.

– The commission discussed an improper paving situation on Lee Road 321 and how to handle the issue for the next commission meeting.

– The commission approved a financial request to Auburn University for the Lee County EOC communications equipment.

– The commission approved to wave the permit fee for the city of Smiths Station.

– The commission approved a service agreement for direct hire placement with Ambassador Personnel Inc.

– The commission approved educational reimbursement requests for an employee in the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and an employee in the Corrections Department.

– The commission adjourned into an executive session to discuss the chief administrative officer candidates.

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