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Demopolis City Council approves rezoning of historic homes

The most recent Demopolis City Council meeting on February 18 focused on public hearings regarding rezoning property located at 400 and 407 East Washington Street.

The council voted to rezone the two properties from R-3 Two- Family Residential to R-4 Multi-Family Residential, but not before hearing concerns from council members and Mayor Woody Collins. The main concern was requiring that black-topped or concrete off-street parking be provided for residents of the renovated homes.

Building Inspector Julius Rembert said that Reginald Gracie, who plans to refurbish the homes, has already put parking into his renovation plans.

Collins said that he is an opponent of spot-zoning, but supports saving dilapidated buildings and preserving historic homes. Collins also stressed that the rezoning is not an invitation for the public to begin asking to refurbish old homes.

“This is not a green light for anybody in this community that’s got an old home sitting somewhere to come running in here saying they want to make apartments,” Collins said. “That’s not the intention here. The intention here is very unique because it is a historic district.”

Councilman Jim Stanford brought up discussions on demolishing the old police station. Rembert reported that the old building contains hazardous material, and said that the cost of demolition is expensive. After discussing the issue, the council voted for City Clerk, Sam Gross, to request quotes on removing the material and demolishing the building.

The sewage leak behind Richard Fountain’s home on Ash Street has been repaired after over 20 years of fighting the problem. City Project Manager Mike Baker will again take samples of the water to confirm there is no longer any contamination.

Walker Reynolds, director of the Park and Recreation Department, approached the Council to ask them to declare one of the department’s trucks as surplus property. Reynolds said that the title to the truck cannot be found. The Council voted to declare the truck surplus property after the City Clerk applies for a new title.

Demopolis Fire and Rescue will have a training exercise Saturday as it burns down a condemned house on Monroe Street. Demolition is scheduled for a house on East Pettus Street.