The city council in Gadsen, Ala., on Tuesday (Dec. 28) voted against an ordinance to rezone property in the Lookout Mountain area because it wasn’t a good location for a recreational vehicle dealership, The Gadsen Times reported.
Councilman Ben Reed said the city’s planning commission unanimously recommended that the council deny the rezoning. Reed asked the council to follow the planning commission’s recommendation.
Planning commission members in a memo said those objecting “did not think the business was suitable for Noccalula Road,” “had concerns about what other types of businesses might locate in the area if it is rezoned” and thought that “RVs pulling into traffic on Noccalula Road would be a significant safety issue.”
The property is located across from the Noccalula Church of God at 1016-1206 Noccalula Road, 1017 and 1107 Noccalula Road, 103-107 Woodland Court, 123-127 Woodland Court and 107-111 South Court in Gadsden’s District 7.
During a public hearing, David Jones, whose family owns the property, spoke in favor of it being rezoned from a R-1 one-family residence district and B-1 neighborhood business district to a B-2 general business district.
Jones was seeking to operate a used RV sales and service business on the property and envisioned other possible commercial uses. He works for a RV dealership in Tampa, Fla., and said a similar business near Noccalula Falls Campground would benefit the city.
“I think it’ll be a good way to introduce people to the city, to see the great things we have,” he said.
“I don’t think there are enough businesses up there on the mountain. The people who live up there want a grocery store, but I think you need to try to create something different. Camping equipment would be perfect for the area and would go with the flow of the property (with it being near Nocculula Falls Campground).”
Margaret Adams said she and other Lookout Mountain residents were concerned about the dangers of locating a RV dealership on Noccalula Road.
“You’re looking at people who are buying a motorhome for the first time and maybe have never driven one,” she said. “It’s just a block or two from a school zone. You won’t know if they’re familiar with driving an RV. That mountain road is already dangerous anyway. There’s a lot of traffic coming up, especially at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.”
Adams said the Lookout Mountain residents would like to have locally operated businesses that would benefit their community.
Councilman Robert Avery suggested Jones get with the mayor’s office and planning department to see if city-owned property in a better location for a RV dealership could be swapped for the property owned by the Jones family.
“Anytime there’s a business with taxes and jobs, we try to support that,” Avery said. “It’s just that the location is a bad one.”