BY MICHELLE KEY
The attendance for the Opelika City Council meeting on Tuesday night was near standing room only again, in part due to interest in the rezoning of land located at S. 10th St. and Ave. C and the amending of zoning ordinance section 7.3 — District Regulations And Use Categories, as well as Section 7.7 — Downtown Residential Living.
The ordinance, which was introduced last month and garnered heavy public comments and a petition against it, was on the agenda for second reading and vote. The ordinance on rezoning the property from M-1, GC-S and C-2 to C-1 and GC-S was passed with a 3 to 2 vote. The property under consideration is the proposed location for a multi-family apartment complex called The Taylor.
The ordinance to amend the zoning ordinance Sections 7.3 and 7.7 was removed from the agenda following a motion by Ward 1 Council Member George Allen. The vote to remove the ordinance passed unanimously.
Ward 5 Council Member Todd Rauch spoke about the numerous phone calls and emails he received on the issues.
“With this going back to the planning commission, I would stress to the Marshes and also their investment team to look at this development and try to make a way for it to be more, for it to look more downtown Opelika,” Rauch said. “I understand that there are priorities that have to be made and there is money and investments in this project, but, it is important to the people, therefore, it is important to us.”
In addition to asking the Marshes to consider making the project look more like downtown Opelika, Rauch discussed the anticipated need to widen 10th Street and the need to ensure that the water and sewer infrastructure can meet the needs of a multi-unit development.
Ward 2 Council Member Erica Baker-Norris thanked the Marshes for attending a meeting held in Ward 2 to discuss the project with her constituents.
“The Marshes participated in that discussion and they did not have to,” Norris said. “They were gracious enough to come and sit and answer some very difficult questions, sometimes in front of a hostile crowd. So I do want to go on the record and thank them for participating in that.”
Nelson Marsh issued the following statement to The Observer following the council meeting:
“We agree with and fully support the council’s decision to follow through with rezoning the property to C1, in accordance with the recommendations of planning. While we are disappointed that this did not come with the proposed text amendment, which we believe to be imperative to the continued growth of our downtown in the historic pattern of development that already exist, we understand and respect the council’s decision to wait for more information on this issue, and plan to provide any and all support we can to assist the council in making the most informed decision on amending the text of our zoning.
In choosing to vote with an eye toward zoning as a whole, instead of succumbing to specific project pressures and politics, we believe the council has shown the integrity that makes Opelika a great city for business.”
PROCLAMATIONS AND RECOGNITIONS
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and the council issued a proclamation to Christoph Johnson, recognizing his work on the mural located on the Avenue A side of the Museum of East Alabama.
Fuller and the council also issued a proclamation declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and also recognized the 20 Under 20 Student Exploratory Program graduates.
– The council approved a request from El Taco Veloz and Mexican Grill LLC, for a restaurant retail liquor and on-premise beer license.
– The council approved a request from ACS for the Relay for Life event at Courthouse Square on April 29.
– The council approved a request for a food truck at Whistle Stop Bottle and Brew on May 5.
– The council approved a request from Keep Opelika Beautiful for Garden in the Park on May 7.
– The council approved a request from Opelika Main Street, on behalf of First United Methodist Church of Opelika, for a Block Party and Fish Fry on June 16.
– The council held a public hearing and subsequently voted to approve the demolition of 2013 Waverly Parkway.
– The council approved all expense reports from various departments.
– The council approved the designation of city personal property as surplus & authorize disposal.
– The council approved a resolution for an emergency expenditure to rent a fire truck rental due to repairs to fire truck No. 316.
– The council approved the purchase of a Marathon RJ-250 self-contained 34 cubic yard compactor for Environmental Services.
– The council approved the purchase of Meraki Security Cameras and Maintenance for the police department.
– The council approved the purchase of Rubrik software and support for the IT department.
– The council approved the purchase of 70 Bolawrap devices with holsters and cassettes for the police department.
– The council approved a request for a refund of occupational license fees from Sawyer Stephens.
– The council approved a resolution to accept a proposal from Sain Associates, Inc. for retiming existing traffic signals.
– The council approved a resolution to accept an updated federal highway classifications map.
– The council approved a resolution for the agreement with John Randall Wilson, Architect, for Opelika Fire Station No. 5 Project.
– The council approved Change Order No. 2 for the contract with Robinson Paving Co. for Northpark Drive improvements.
– The council approved Change Order No. 3 to the Service Agreement with TTL, Inc. for Industrial Blvd. and Northpark Drive improvements.
– The council approved a license agreement with the Opelika City Schools Board of Education for the annual fireworks exhibition and display.
– The council approved a right-of-way encroachment license agreement with Edgar Hughston Builder, Inc. for the Drakes Landing entrance sign.
– The council approved a revised grant application with ADECA for the Recreational Trails Program with Creekline Trails of Opelika.
– The council approved a grant application with ALDOT for an Industrial Access Road grant.
– The council approved requests for special use permits for the following:
• AT&T at 1315 Madison Ave.
• AT&T at 2000 Steel St.
• AT&T at 2605 Tower St.
• Dish Wireless at 1015 West Point Pkwy.
• Dish Wireless at 3460 US Hwy 280 East.
• Dish Wireless at 4499 North Park Dr.
• T-Mobile at 2605 Tower St.
• T-Mobile at 3460 US Hwy 280 East.
– The council approved a special appropriation to the American Cancer Society for the 2022 Relay for Life event.
– The council approved a special appropriation to Keep Opelika Beautiful for 2022 Garden in the Park.
– The council approved a special appropriation to Lee County Emergency Management Agency in the amount of $50,000 to aid in the renovation of its new operations center and administrative offices.
– The council approved a special appropriation to Opelika Main Street, Inc. in the amount of $100,000 for the renovation of its new office spaces on 8th St.
– The council approved an ordinance for the leasing of the property located at 200 S. 6th St. to the Opelika Chamber of Commerce.