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Jemison rezones property after hearing

The Jemison City Council on Monday listened to a contentious public hearing before deciding to reverse the zoning on property off Patton Street.

The property was zoned commercial before citywide rezoning in August 2009 resulted in a residential zoning, which made it impossible for Caton Properties to rent a building it owns to potential businesses.

Two people with Caton Properties addressed the council at the hearing, as did five neighbors that wanted the property to remain residential because of problems they said a business would bring.

The city’s planning commission had recommended the council keep the zoning as it was decided last August, but the council decided differently.

Voting “nay,” to overturn the commission’s recommendation, were council members George Brasher, Donnie Lane, Robert Morris and Sam Reed. Mayor Eddie Reed voted to heed the commission’s recommendation to keep the zoning as is, and councilwoman Faye King abstained.

Two public hearings were held before the city adopted a rezoning plan in August 2009. Wayne Caton of Caton Properties said he attended at least one of the hearings, but said he didn’t understand at the time that his property would be zoned differently.

“When the process for rezoning the city was done, it was published, it was announced,” Reed said. “There were no objections; there was no opposition to it.”

The council’s vote and subsequent explanation did not appease the residents who were at the city’s Municipal Complex to argue against changing the property back to commercial, but council members said any business would have to abide by city ordinances pertaining to noise, etc.

The residents said a building on the property in question had housed a vehicle body shop and wrecker service in the past and the noise created, especially late at night, was a nuisance and lowered surrounding property values.

In other business, the council:

Changed the city’s ordinance pertaining to the sale of alcohol to read that businesses will have to pay the city 5 percent of gross monthly receipts, instead of 15 percent as the ordinance was originally written.

Donated $1,047 to a Chilton Medical Center program that helps victims of rape.

Gave Mayor Reed the power to enter into a contract with a real estate company to find possible tenant or tenants of the old city hall.

Decided to bring in the top three candidates for the city clerk position for another interview. Mary Ellison resigned from the position effective as soon as a replacement could be found, and Reed said an interview committee initially met with six applicants.