The Mobile City Council voted Tuesday to approve a rezoning request to allow a local Mardi Gras society to build float barns on a visible Midtown property.
The application of the Infant Mystics was affirmed with a unanimous 6-0 vote and no debate. Councilman Joel Daves abstained.
The approval allows the society to construct float barns near the intersection of South Broad and Dauphin streets, adjacent to property where the group received previous approval to convert the historic Protestant Children’s Home into an event space.
A public hearing on the subject resulted in opposition from only two people, Samuel and Carol Parker, who were concerned that development of the property would restrict emergency access to a home they provide for the intellectually disabled. On Tuesday, Councilman Levon Manzie said he heard pushback from other residents, but still supported the project.
During the public hearing, applicants’ attorney Casey Pipes told councilors the organization would also voluntarily construct a privacy fence, even though it’s not required because the Parkers’ property is also zoned for commercial use.
The new barns will total 13,800 square feet.
In other business, councilors approved two reappointments to the Citizen’s Budget and Finance Advisory Committee, but not before debating the group’s merits. Before Mike Johnson and Jay Weber could be reappointed to the committee, Councilman Fred Richardson argued it was no longer needed.
“I have reservations about it,” he said during the pre-conference meeting. “Do we know of any recommendations they’ve given us? They’ve raised many issues, but haven’t made any recommendations. I think their time has come.”
Councilwoman Bess Rich said Weber, her appointee, has been very helpful in the past. Councilmen C.J. Small and John Williams echoed her remarks about their own appointees. But Richardson blamed the committee for negative publicity during the Sam Jones administration. He said “every week” the committee generated negative publicity about problems with the city’s finances, arguing its members also “didn’t have a clue” about the city’s ordinances.
“When the dust settled, they made no recommendations,” Richardson said. “If we were that bad off, they should’ve made at least one recommendation.”
Separately, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced the hours for Riverside Ice, a seasonal ice skating rink at Cooper Riverside Park opening Saturday. Hours will be noon to 10 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 11 p.m. on weekends. The 50-by-70-foot rink uses real ice maintained by refrigeration. The cost for skating will range from $8 to $12 per person.