City meets with Walmart rep
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
It's been speculated for some time now that a Super Wal-Mart or new Wal-Mart may be moving into the city of Brewton. On Tuesday night, Mayor Ted Jennings requested that council go into executive session during its regularly scheduled council meeting to discuss dealings with a representative from Wal-Mart concerning property city owns.
After the council members returned, no action was taken and no information was discussed regarding the matter.
However, according to Pete Diurno, six developers have been putting together site packages that will be presented to Wal-Mart. Diurno had no more information and added that he had hoped to have more information at Tuesday's meeting.
In a November phone interview, Glenn Wilkins, who works at Wal-Mart's corporate office, said the corporation often sends out “realtors” to prospective cities to gather speculative data. During the interview he said that to his knowledge the city of Brewton would not be getting a Super Wal-Mart, property has not been bought, but the city could be looking at a new store in the next five years.
In other council news, council members unanimously voted in favor of rezoning an address located on Evergreen Avenue from R-3 to B-1 (Professional Business District) based on a recommendation from the Planning Commission.
Two people stood in favor of rezoning the property located at 411 Evergreen Ave., and one person stood in opposition. The property is currently abandoned, and on several occasions has been called an “eyesore.”
In November, attorney Bill Stokes addressed the Planning Commission with the request that the property be rezoned from R-3 to B-2.
Stokes said he wanted to move his law practice to the property and already had ideas on how to renovate the property inside and outside, and would use the front of the property as business parking and the back of the property as private. At the end of the meeting Planning Commission changed the criteria and recommended the property be rezoned to B-1.
At the same November meeting, Dr. Robert Defrancisco told Planning Commission members that he uses an alleyway that runs from Belleville to Evergreen as his driveway. If a business is placed at the Evergreen address, he's worried that people will begin to enter his driveway to access the business.
During Tuesday night's meeting, Defrancisco reiterated his point with council members.
Defrancisco said that while agrees remodeling the “eyesore” is a good idea, “I'm going to have people driving through my property.”
Stokes and neighboring property owner Emmie Jernigan stood in favor of rezoning the property. Jernigan said that when she purchased her property it was disclosed at closing that the driveway was in fact an alleyway owned by the city, and she believes rezoning the property “Is in the best interest of the city.”
Stokes said Tuesday night that he had acquired letters from neighbors stating they are in favor of the rezoning matter.
Stokes added that he would pay to have the alleyway closed off with a gate and would give Defrancisco a key to the gate. However, according to Defrancisco, he was told “If I close it off, he says 'that's your problem.'”
After the council announced its vote, Defrancisco said that he “will appeal this to Circuit Court and ask for a jury trial.”