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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at www.clsnet.org if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Guatemalan church appeal in Collinsville

Last night I attended one of the more interesting public hearings I have ever attended in Collinsville. This zoning ordinance meeting easily ranks with the Feb 21 remarks of Deacon David Ryan, Martha's presentation to Jennifer Wilkins in the presence of Congressman Aderholt April 9, and Casey Mattox graduation ceremony for civic moments in Collinsville. Let me be clear, I was not in the Presbyterian church when Ms. Wilkins got the certificate, but I was in the barbershop April 4 when I was served notice, and I was at Samford the evening of Jan 24 when they were having the kangaroo court in the Lyberry.
But I digressed. Last night by a vote of 4-1, four Christians voted against a glossalaic 40 member Guatemalan dialect Church of God Congregation appeal to establish a place or worship in a residential neighborhood in Collinsville. Munsey Box, a Methodist who was a stomping ground friend of none other than Bobby Welch, recent president of the Southern Baptist Convention was one of the first folks to speak against the church appeal.
Two ministers on the the panel voted against the request, along with a member of Judge Roy Moore's base church in Gadsden, Joey Poe. A Republican Methodist layman, Bobby Elrod was the sole zoning board member who answered the question in the negative: Would this church adversely affect the community as a whole? Elrod allowed it may lower property values in that neighborhood, and the streets were a little narrow to swallow the likely traffic for a growing congregation, but for the town as a whole he could not convince himself it was an adverse proposition.
Quite frankly, I can not say how I woulda voted on this matter. It was a matter of grace Rev ATkins, a retired Church of God pastor chaired the committee. His reputatiion in the town and Christian character is impeccable. So I am not demonizing these people.
It was interesting one woman there in the audience who works in close association with the Ministerial Association on many projects was silent in the matter; least publicly last night.
I do think the Minister's Association should be open to working with the Alabama Baptist STate board of Missions-- www.alsbom.org --, The CBF www.thefellowship.info and Bishop Willimon at www.northalabamaumc.org should they take interest to be an advocate for these Guatemalan Christians as they seek a place to build their house of worship.
Speaking in tongues is not my tradition. But I do understand it to be the fastest growing church of Latin America, a joyful worship that serves much the same need as Black churches did when they were oppressed in the South, a Home away from Hope that gives Hope that Someday we will all be together as one in the Kingdom of God.
It would be hard for me to say No to That and look at Jesus straight in the face; though I am no idiot when it comes to property values.
I had a conversation with Collinsville Carter on Main Street today, very near a street that I understand is to become "Chambers" Street soon. From there I went to City Hall to report that Congressman Aderholt and Senator Barron, as well as Barron's son in law Coy Murray all need to context this discussion in the analysis of Bob Moser easily googled up entering White Heat in Nation Magazine; or searching for same at www.thenation.com
May God give us all wisdom for the facing of this hour, especially in the most ethnically diverse town in the state, which as I have said before, was the subject of a state wide television documentary shown again as recently at April 9 and 11 www.alabamatv.org Coming To a Crossroad.

Stephen Fox
Now it is on to Volleyball tonight and Let's Win There

"Alert the Amphibious Squadron"

4 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Bailey said...

Steve,

The "appeal" for construction of a church or similar place of worship in an R-2 Zoning District ain't quite so simple as most believe: The Zoning Ordinance allows such as a "Special Exception" which may be granted ONLY by an affirming vote of 4 of the 5 members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment after (and only after) the Board, by simple majority, has made certain findings and certifications. The law clearly states that no such exception may be granted until the Board has made those certain findings and certifications -- a vote on the larger question of the exception, after the Board’s failing to make the required findings and certifications is completely pointless and an illogical process. Under such circumstances, one might reasonably question the validity of even a motion to grant (the exception) since such cannot be legally granted without satisfying the specified conditions.

The first thing most applicants requesting a Special Exception fail to understand is that the Zoning Ordinance restricts uses of property by exclusion; i.e. if a particular use is not specified under “permitted uses” for a given zoning district, then that particular use is prohibited. If such particular use is not specified under “Special Exceptions” for that district, then no request for such use (by Special Exception) may be considered by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) – the Board has no authority to act on such a request. If a particular use is not specified under “permitted uses” and is not listed as a Special Exception for that zoning district, then such a use would require an amendment to Zoning Ordinance and would be illegal without such. A Special Exception, which may be granted only under certain conditions by the ZBA, is NOT an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance which requires action of the Town Council.

Secondly, most applicants do not understand that permission for the use they request is already prohibited (by exclusion) but MAY be allowed ONLY under certain conditions – hence, the term “Special Exception”.

Finally, most applicants fail to present an adequate demonstration of how each requirement (parking, traffic, general compatibility, etc.) for Special Exception will be satisfied. The burden of such demonstration is clearly upon the applicant. An application for Special Exception is a request which should include (and clearly indicate) the proposed methods of satisfying the specified requirements (which are clearly defined by the Zoning Ordinance) on a point-by-point basis. There should be no expectation that any argument will be presented by the Zoning Administrator -- such official must remain completely impartial and should provide information and advice in regard to known conditions or circumstances and specific provisions of applicable regulation only.

In the case you speak of, the ZBA did not make the required perquisite finding that granting the exception would “not adversely affect the public interest” and thus had no reason to consider the specified requirements concerning ingress/egress, parking, buffering, building type, etc. Further consideration of the matter would have been pointless since the exception could not have been granted without a no-adverse-affect-finding.


Most comments by the general public expressed concerns of general compatibility and decreasing property values while other comments, which unfortunately may have been motivated by an underlying issue of race or ethnicity, expressed concerns regarding traffic safety. Several members of the public did ask relevant questions. Subsequent discussion and comment by Board members seems to indicate that most did consider the relevant conditions and circumstances. The vote deciding the public interest issue was 3-1-1.

Unlike you, I am sure how I would have voted on the matter. I am also sure that members of the Board deserve a commendation for serving as they do -- regardless of agreement or disagreement with their decisions.

While the ZBA hearing process may not be straight out of the world of tomorrow, it is a pretty good system.

4:34 PM  
Blogger foxofbama said...

Jeff: Thanks no kidding for your involved response to this matter.
One concern I am starting to have is, unlike, my report to your niece in the parking lot of the Pig yesterday, I am starting to be thankful you did not finish Gaffney High School with me, cause it coulda affected me being elected Most Intellectual of my Class.
The Water is Deep too, get it; from Slingblade.
I think our conversation here is a good thing. I have every reason to believe Janet Mayo, Lowell Barron's assistant, is lurking here, and that is just the bottom of the feeder chain of the possible influence of this exchange by two of Collinsville's Finest.
Dan and David Who????
May miss you boys tonight for the Council meeting. The Black Dahlia is calling me.
Open to refutation, but from our conversation in other venues for the voting public let me be explicit as to how I understand you would have voted if you had been a member of the zoning board.
Even with your concerns for the narrow streets there, you would've voted in favor of the church.
Let me know if I misunderstood your sentiment on this matter.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bailey said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bailey said...

Nice try, Stevie. There is a world of difference in understanding and assumption. Neither of us is allowed a second guess.

While many applicants may not fully understand the process, the Board members may not understand that they are allowed to ask questions of the applicant and are free to make suggestions regarding how a particular requirement or concern might be satisfied -- perhaps they're just not inclined to do either. They may feel obligated only to consider the information included in the written application -- since the burden of satisfying the requirements IS on the applicant, such an approach may not be unreasonable.

Compared to all other boards, commissions, etc., membership on the ZBA may be the least likely position for making friends and influencing people: Public opinion, though many times based on much less than a real understanding of the relevant legal issues, is very difficult to ignore – especially when expressed by those we know and respect. Personal feelings can easily enter (even subconsciously) into the equation.

Since the ZBA is accurately described as quasi-judicial, I have always felt that any discussions outside the public hearing (of those matters to come before the Board) between its members and others “having an interest in the matter” were inappropriate.

11:54 PM  

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