The Mobile Planning Commission May 7 held over until Oct. 1 a rezoning vote that would allow for a storage lot surplus military vehicles in the Plateau community. The holdover was requested by the applicant and property owner, Chippewa Lakes, LLC, to allow community organizers to come up with a comprehensive plan for the area.
“We always work with the community,” Chippewa Lakes Commercial Property Manager Joey Guess said. “What is good for the community is good for us.”
He told commissioners during a public hearing portion of the meeting that Chippewa Lakes had previously donated property to the community, where four churches and two parking lots now stand.
Guess added that the area has always had industrial uses, although it’s zoned residential and allowing Pitts and Sons to lease the former Scotts Paper Company credit union building for the lot would allow the building to be used. He said the surplus vehicles would be sold at auction and would include jeeps and trucks in good working order. Guess said it would not be a junkyard, or scrap yard.
The owners have spent more than $140,000 on maintenance of the building already, Guess said. adding they currently spend more than $20,000 on insurance, taxes and utilities.
Residents and supporters of the Plateau community urged the Planning Commission to give them time to work on a comprehensive plan. Nigel Roberts, a commission member and the city’s director of community development, said there is a comprehensive plan in the works for that area and a report is expected sometime before October.
Another resident, Marlene Baker, blamed commercial development for cancer and other illnesses being prevalent in the area. She also suggested that more commercial development could lead to disasters, like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In other business, the Planning Commission held over until June 4 a planning approval application to change the substance in one storage tank at 1437 Cochrane Causeway from petroleum to sulfuric acid.
Residents and members of the Mobile Bay Sierra Club asked several questions about the application, including how the substance would be transported and whether the tanks, already on site, would be sufficient for holding sulfuric acid.
Gary Cowles, an engineer on the project, said the material would come to the tanks via barge and would leave via truck.
Sierra Club member David Underhill suggested maybe moving the operation away from the downtown area and to an industrial canal in Theodore.
The commission considered holding over the vote until the subcommittee on petroleum storage tanks introduced new regulations on tanks. They landed on the June 4 date. Jay Watkins, Planning Commission chairman and subcommittee member, said the group was at least a month away from introducing the new regulations to the full commission. He said at least one public hearing would be required.
The commission also approved a request by Mobile Infirmary to remove “Crosstown Loop 3” from the city’s major streets plan. Crosstown Loop 3, also known as the Houston Street Extension, would have connected the Infirmary to Houston Street via a new, 100-foot-wide corridor between Dauphin Street and Old Shell Road.