Jefferson County Commission

JeffCo Commission OKs Store Near New Hospital in McCalla; President Says It’s a Bad Call

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens said that someday a future panel of commissioners will say an action taken by the commission Thursday was shortsighted.

Stephens cast the one nay vote to a request to rezone property in McCalla from agricultural to commercial to accommodate a convenience store with a gas station and deli. The property, at 4476 Bell Hill Road, next to the UAB West Hospital that’s currently under construction.

The current land use plan for that area is rural. Stephens said the immediate future should have been weighed more heavily.

“The land use plan that’s in existence now represents Jefferson County in the past,” the commission president said. “The land use plan should be and needs to be reflective of what the future will hold for Jefferson County and the orderly development of homes, schools, commerce and institutions within Jefferson County. I don’t believe that the current land use plan reflects that.”

Stephens said a $300 million hospital will be in that area just off Interstate 459. He said Thursday’s rezoning was, “in effect, spot zoning.”

“I think that everything around it, as that area transitions more, it’s going to be more medical,” the commissioner said. “You’re going to have doctors’ offices. You’re going to have medical clinics there. Do you want a C (convenience) store in the middle of all that? I just don’t think it’s showing the foresight that we need to have.”

The commission Thursday also approved 69 resolutions that were vetted in committee Tuesday. It did, on advice from Developmental Services, pull five of the 30 structures that are set for demolition due to a processing error.

In a matter of new business, the commission authorized its president to write an engagement letter with the Rothstein Group as municipal advisor to the county on sewer warrant refunding matters.