Birmingham Council OKs Rezoning To Allow Event Venue In Kingston

pictured is Council President William Parker and President Pro-Tem Wardine Alexander

Council President William Parker and President Pro-Tem Wardine Alexander

Miranda Fulmore, WBHM

The Birmingham City Council approved a rezoning request Tuesday to bring a new, private event center to the city’s Kingston neighborhood despite concerns about its lack of compatibility with the city’s long-range land-use plan and neighborhood demands that the venue not sell alcohol.

The center will be part of a three-unit property at 4700 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. Owner Abdul Alammari told councilors he had spent more than $500,000 to renovate the building, and the other two units would be rented out as commercial space. But for the property to include an event space, it would have to be rezoned from CB-1 Contingency Neighborhood Business District to a C-2 General Commercial District.

The city’s long-range land-use plan for the area states that the property should transition “toward a more mixed-use low designation” because of its proximity to residential areas, said Katrina Thomas, the city’s interim deputy director of planning, engineering and permits.

But some councilors noted that the surrounding area already was filled with commercial businesses.

“I’m a little perplexed why this doesn’t fit,” said District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn. “There’s a Holiday Inn, like, three blocks down, and there’s a trucking stop across the street. There’s all sorts of businesses up and down this area of Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard … Why doesn’t this fit?”

Thomas agreed that an event center would not be “completely inconsistent with the surrounding land uses” as they currently stand.

Approval of the rezoning also came with a Q condition, or qualifying condition, from the Kingston neighborhood association, which had voted to approve Alammari’s request as long as alcohol was not sold at the venue. Event hosts, however, would be allowed to provide alcohol for free.

While Alammari said he did not intend to request a liquor license for the venue, District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt called the neighborhood association’s conditions “asinine.”

“I’ve seen this same community give liquor licenses to folk, and they’re inundated with liquor places,” he said. “What I’m saying is, it’s a neighborhood that’s schizophrenic. You apply rules here, but you don’t apply them there! Be consistent!”

Hoyt attempted to change the rezoning ordinance to remove that Q condition but was reminded by the city’s law department that to do so would require the city to readvertise the zoning changes and schedule another public hearing before a vote could be held.

He acquiesced, voting against the rezoning along with Councilors Valerie Abbott and Crystal Smitherman. The no votes were narrowly outnumbered, though, with the remaining councilors who were present — O’Quinn, Hunter Williams, John Hilliard and Wardine Alexander — voting in favor of the rezoning.


The GOP debate field was asked about Trump. But most attacks focused on Nikki Haley

With just over a month before the 2024 primary calendar begins, the debate demonstrated how firm Trump's grip remains on the party.

Alabama’s prison population sees troubling growth in latest DOJ report

For the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. prison populations are trending up. Alabama's numbers are a part of troubling gains across the Gulf South.

A narrowing Republican presidential field will debate in Tuscaloosa Wednesday

Four candidates will be on stage at the University of Alabama for their last scheduled meeting before the Iowa caucuses kick off the presidential nominating season next month. Former President Donald Trump, the race’s clear front-runner, will not be among them.

Place, Erased: A virtual listening session with the Gulf States Newsroom; RSVP now

Join us as we listen to the recent series about towns transformed by major environmental shifts and talk with the reporters about what they learned.

Tuberville is ending blockade of most military nominees

Tuberville’s blockade of military promotions was over a dispute about a Pentagon abortion policy. The Alabama Republican said Tuesday he’s “not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer.”

Man featured in ‘S-Town’ podcast shot and killed by police during standoff, authorities say

Joseph Tyler Goodson was shot by officers after he barricaded himself inside a home and “brandished a gun" at officers early Sunday, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said. Bibb County Coroner Patrick Turner said that Goodson was pronounced “brain dead” Tuesday night at a hospital.

More Front Page Coverage