Councilman John Williams and Councilman C.J. Small voted against the appeal, which was based on council attorney Wanda Cochran’s opinion that the Planning Commission withheld facts pertaining to the issue.
For some against the off-site parking lot for Pulmonary Associates of Mobile, the fate of a historic home is at issue. Williams reminded councilors that the house should not part of the body’s consideration. At its heart, he said, the issue pertains to whether the actions of the Planning Commission were arbitrary and capricious.
“This is not about a house,” Williams said. “This is to consider if the Planning Commission acted appropriately.”
In addition, Williams said he was concerned that a vote in favor of the appeal brought by Tuscaloosa Street resident Dorothy Wells could open the door to trouble.
“It’s a private property issue,” he said. “This house was bought. The lot was rezoned before the purchase and is now the property of a private entity.”
Joe Zurfluh, CEO of Pulmonary Associates of Mobile, said the clinic’s current location on the third floor of Mobile Infirmary made it tough for many of the clinics patients to get around.
The new clinic — the former location of Physicians Pain Specilaists of Alabama — which would be on the ground floor and more accessible. He said a nearby parking lot is needed for better access, as well.
Zurfluh said the clinic is continue to look for those interested in the home. They would give it away to anyone who could move it to another location, he said.
Sydney Betbeze, with Restore Mobile, said she supports the appeal as a means to save the home on the property. Betbeze also argued that encroachment on neighborhoods from commercial entities could have a “domino effect” and cause blight.
Bruce McGowin, a local attorney, told councilors that the home in question was built in 1830.
In other business, the council approved the installation of a floating dock at Cooper Riverside Park. Including design and construction, the dock will cost about $130,000. The city hopes the dock will help satisfy a U.S. Department of Transportation requirement to make the landing near GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf Coast part of a transportation hub. The requirement came as part of the funding for the museum.
The council delayed, until May 8, a vote to create a tourism incentive district to help enhance tourism. The council will be forced to wait for Mobile’s local delegation to act on a bill before it can vote on the issue.
The district would add a charge to local hotel room rentals, which would in turn be used to promote tourism.
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