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Jemison Council to consider rezoning portion of CR 42

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Jemison City Council will discuss a rezoning request for 26.17 acres at 9214  County Road 42 during its voting session on Oct. 18.

A public hearing, giving community members a chance to comment for or against on the change, will be held as a part of the meeting.

The request is to change the zoning from agricultural to multi-family residential. If the rezoning request is approved, The Vantage Group is looking to buy the property from Clyde Northcutt to develop an affordable apartment complex for those over 50.

Multiple studies would need to be done on the property and a site plan approved by the city before the project could move forward. The property does not touch Robinson Street.

The Jemison Planning Commission held a public hearing on the rezoning request on Oct. 12, where members present voted unanimously in favor of recommending the change to the council.

Planning Commission Chairman Rex Bittle and members John Dennis and Michael Keys said they were voting in favor, so the community members would be able to speak to the full Jemison City Council on the issue.

Member Richard Childs also voted in favor. Members Hershel Peoples, Willie Nunn and Sandy Pate were absent.

“I want you to come before the council, this will keep coming up, so the council decides one way or another how it wants Jemison to grow,” Bittle said to the audience members.

He said he has had people come to him on both side of the issue.

“I want it to be fair,” Keys said. “I want everything to work out for you. It’s your city.”

During the two-hour public hearing, many residents expressed concerns about having multi-family development on their street.  These concerns included increased traffic, potential for increased crime, loss of property value, environmental concerns, not wanting apartments right across the street, lack of infrastructure and increased noise.

Other comments included that there were better uses for the land, that income-based housing would not benefit the city and that Jemison already has enough apartments. Many felt it would change the atmosphere and small town feel that they enjoy about Jemison, if a two-story apartment building was built.

A few were in support of the rezoning.

Amanda Slater of The Vantage Group also spoke offering answers and clarification on specifics of what the project would be if it were approved. She said the income caps for those who could apply for the apartments would be determined based on 60% of the median income.

The meeting also offered clarification that this was the first time this specific request had been made. The parcel being considered had been a part of a proposed change to the zoning ordinance to expand where multi-family development was permitted. This would have rezoned several properties in Jemison. The vote to change the ordinance failed in March. However, a sign mentioning the proposed development was inadvertently left on the original site.

The Oct. 18 voting session will be held at 6 p.m. at Jemison City Hall.