The following letter was written to City Councilwoman Gina Gregory, but also sent to Lagniappe:
Thanks for speaking with me last week about the St. Ignatius property that’s for sale on Springhill Avenue. I know you have been listening to a lot of discussion on this subject, and would like to add my thoughts.
First, as you know, I am a veterinarian. Several people have asked me if my opposition to the sale is based on me not wanting competition. This is NOT the case. Dr. Edmonds is a former employee of mine. Her success in business is a reflection on me. I want every employee to advance in business and life. This only improves my position in the public eye. Also her moving her office a short distance from her current location does not affect me in any way, and I want only her success.
Second, there is strong opposition from all the neighbors living in the area. As you may know a large portion of this property was donated to St. Ignatius by the mother of one of the closest neighbors, who is also opposed to this sale. The fact that we, St. Ignatius, would sell in opposition to the family is sad in my opinion. This is not about black or white, but all residents in the area. St. Ignatius Parish, of which I am a member, has not informed the parish of this sale until after we spoke last week, and only now are we beginning to be able to voice our opposition.
As a parishioner I am opposed to the sale simply because I don’t want to hear barking dogs during Mass, or while kids are in school, or during a wedding. It has been said that they will not have many dogs outside. I can tell you that my office is very loud every morning including Saturdays and Sundays. The difference here is both of the buildings I have built were already zoned B-2. If they had been in a R-1 zone, I can’t believe my neighbors would approve. Even in my current location I receive calls from unhappy neighbors. I do my best to work with them even though I am in a B-2 zone, but it’s still loud. I feel this gives me valuable insight into this matter. I might also mention I live close to St. Ignatius, on Tuthill Lane near St. Pauls, and routinely I hear the train whistle from the railroad track much farther away than the property for sale. So I can tell everyone we will hear the dogs.
Third, it has been said that there was no notice of a zoning change. After speaking to many neighbors, not one has said they saw a zoning change sign. I never saw a sign at the property location. I did see a zoning change sign in front of St. Ignatius church. I don’t know anything about these rules, but if that was the sign, it seems it should have been in front of the actual property so all the neighbors could have been informed as to the exact location being proposed for a change. The current construction of the new church at St. Ignatius makes the zoning sign confusing, again if that was for the property sale.
I hope this information will provide value as you consider your vote. I would like for you and all the council members to oppose this matter. As an alternate view I would like to propose the next idea. I feel strongly that given 18-plus months the community could raise funds from, but not limited to and including, the city of Mobile, village of Spring Hill, other concerned foundations and the local residents, to purchase this property from St. Ignatius. It could then be developed into a green space with many options. This would benefit all parties concerned and be a benefit to our community.
Thank you for taking time to read this. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call or email me. Please vote no!
John C. Courtney, DVM
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