The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to deny a rezoning request from developers of a proposed mini-storage facility in the city’s Oxmoor neighborhood after outcry from residents.
The proposed development, which would have been at 801 Tom Martin Drive, would have repurposed a property vacated by the Internal Revenue Service in 2018. It would have created 166 new storage units for boats and recreational vehicles as well as a wash bay for those vehicles. The development would have required a rezoning of the property from MXD Planned Mixed Use District to QI-1 Qualified Light Manufacturing District.
Developer Whit Mitchell, co-owner of New Latitude Moving and Storage, said he believed the project was “an outstanding use for the property.” But neighborhood residents — who had voted in February not to recommend the project to the City Council — said the area already had several storage facilities and expressed concerns about increases in traffic.
“There are more storage units (in the area) than we need,” said Madeline Green, the Oxmoor Neighborhood Association’s president. “No matter how big or small, or whether the bricks are gold or the doors are dripping with diamonds, it’s a storage facility.”
Other residents expressed concerns about traffic congestion, particularly because of the focus on large recreational vehicles. Mitchell argued that the facility would generate 80% less traffic than it had when it was owned by the IRS.
“I think it’s important to note that (residents’) two desires, to see the property used as something else and to see a reduction in traffic, are exclusive to one another,” he said. “Imagine that the IRS goes come back, and over 300 employees start commuting there daily.”
Still, he said, his company was “interested in working with the neighborhood to address the concerns.”
But the council sided with the neighborhood, voting unanimously against the rezoning request.