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Council upholds rezoning denial

Atmore’s city council, meeting for the first time since May 8, made quick work of a two-item agenda during the panel’s Monday, June 12, session.

Actually, it became a one-item agenda when Tonya Hudson, organizer of Fight Against Darkness Warfare Walkers, was not in attendance to ask approval for an upcoming event, the details of which were not disclosed, that was to encompass both Tom Byrne and Houston Avery parks.

District 4 Councilmember Susan Smith asked if the council might consider the item anyway, but Administrative Assistant Celia Lambert, filling in for City Clerk Becca Smith, pointed out that Hudson had not specified the date on which the event was to take place. Because of that, the item was tabled.

That left a request by the Rev. Ewing Mayberry, owner of Mayberry Funeral Home, as the only business item of the evening.

Mayberry had recently appeared before the city’s planning and zoning board to ask that property he owns on Martin Luther King Drive, between Liberty and Fifth streets, be rezoned from R-1 (residential) to B-1 (business).

“Mr. Mayberry went before the planning board, and the planning board has recommended that the motion be denied,” Staff said before District 1’s Webb Nall introduced a motion to uphold the planning and zoning board’s decision. Smith seconded the motion, and the council voted unanimously to further deny the request.

“Sorry, Mr. Mayberry, it’s denied,” the mayor said to the petitioner, who attended the council meeting but did not speak on behalf of his request.

Prior to the meeting, Staff and Nall had discussed the recent decision to have city police lock the entries to Tom Byrne Park and Houston Avery Park at 11 p.m. each night and unlock them at “4 or 5 in the morning.”

Police Chief Chuck Brooks said after the meeting that the decision was based upon the overnight presence of those who leave their vehicles there and those who are up to no good.

“People were parking in there all night, and we’ve had some mischief and vandalism in there,” Brooks said. “We lock it up at 11 each night, but if somebody’s in there walking, we’re not going to lock them in.”