Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved a zoning change request to bring a new private event center to the Kingston neighborhood, despite concerns over its lack of compatibility with the city’s long-term land use plan and the neighborhood demands that the place not sell alcohol.
The center will be part of a three-unit property at 4700 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. The owner of N. Abdul Alammari told advisers he had spent more than $ 500,000 to renovate the building and that the other two units would be leased as commercial space. But for the property to include event space, it would have to move from the CB-1 emergency district business district to a C-2 general shopping district.
The city’s long-term land use plan for the area says the property is expected to move “to a more mixed low-use designation” due to its proximity to residential areas, said Katrina Thomas, deputy manager by interim planning, engineering and permitting.
But some advisers noted that the surrounding area was already filled with business ventures.
“I’m a little puzzled why this doesn’t fit,” District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said. “There’s a Holiday Inn, like, three blocks down, and there’s a truck stop across the street. There are all kinds of top-to-bottom businesses in this area of Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard… why isn’t that right? “
Thomas agreed that an event center would not be “completely incompatible with the surrounding land uses” as they currently stand.
The zoning change approval also came with a condition Q, or qualifying condition, from the Kingston Neighborhood Association, which had voted to approve Alammari’s request until the alcohol was sold on site. Event organizers, however, would be allowed to provide alcohol for free.
While Alammari has said he has no plans to apply for a liquor license for the venue, District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt called the terms of the neighborhood association “insane” .
“I’ve seen this same community give people liquor licenses, and they’re inundated with liquor stores,” he said. “What I’m saying is it’s a schizophrenic neighborhood. You apply rules here, but you don’t apply them there! To be coherent!”
Hoyt tried to change the rezoning order to remove this Q condition, but the city’s legal department reminded him that in order to do so, the city would have to re-announce the zoning changes and schedule another public hearing before a vote. cannot take place.
He nodded, voting against rezoning with councilors Valerie Abbott and Crystal Smitherman. However, the votes against were slightly outnumbered, with the remaining councilors present – O’Quinn, Hunter Williams, John Hilliard and Wardine Alexander – voting in favor of the zoning change.