City Council Meeting Recap 7.14.20

Here’s the video from today’s meeting:

Here are the main items the Birmingham City Council discussed at the July 14th, 2020 Meeting

Century Plaza Property Rezoning

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously to rezone the former Century Plaza property from CB-2 (Contingency General Business District) to “Q” I-1 (Qualified Light Manufacturing District), paving the way for a logistics and distribution center.

The redevelopment will transform the former mall into a 200,000 square-foot last-mile distribution center that could bring over 300 jobs to District 2. The item passed with several “Q conditions” that prevent delivery trucks from entering on the Oporto Madrid Blvd side of the property. There are also restrictions of future uses, which prevent the property being used as a dairy factory, animal kennel, ministorage or a private club, among other restrictions,

The Century Plaza Mall has been closed since 2009 and Councilor Hunter Williams, who represents the district, said this has been a major point of concern for residents over the years.

“One thing residents on the eastern side of Birmingham have been asking for is the repurposing of the old Century Plaza Mall,” Williams said. “While many options have been considered over the years, unfortunately, none of those options materialized due to the immense cost associated with rehabbing or demolishing the old mall. This new facility, along with the VA Center that is currently being developed just down the street, will bring hundreds of jobs to Birmingham creating a huge synergy to the Crestwood Blvd corridor.”

Here are a few of the details of the proposed project:

The facility will be a state-of-the-art class-A single-story building with concrete walls and glass features at the entry.

The facility will provide significant jobs with over 1,400 delivery drivers operating to and from the property and over 320 associates and managers working within the premises.

The proposed facility is designed for a package delivery service. Packages arriving at this facility are prepackaged in cardboard boxes and labeled for shipping within local neighborhoods and areas surrounding the facility. The packages are brought into the facility via semi trucks, using designated loading dock positions. The model limits the number of large trucks that would arrive at the facility in order to mitigate traffic concerns.

As it stands, the new center could be opened by June 21, 2021. The Eastwood Neighborhood Association voted 6–5 against rezoning for the new logistics center. However, Williams said his office has received calls from dozens of residents who live in that area and other adjoining neighborhoods who are in favor of the project.

Birmingham Police Department Body Cameras

The Birmingham City Council voted to approve a contract agreement with Axon Enterprise Inc. for body cameras and technological equipment for the Birmingham Police Department.

The city will be leasing body cameras that will be activated whenever an officer exits their patrol car or unholsters their TASER. The agreement is for five years, which is the approximate lifespan of the camera batteries.

The contract is for $7,455,555 and covers the cost of the equipment as well as the storage and maintenance of the data that is gathered. The new cameras also allow for geofencing, meaning dispatchers can activate all cameras within a certain geographic area.

Birmingham On-Demand Microtransit Program Extended

The Birmingham City Council voted to extend the City’s agreement with Via, a ridesharing pilot program that was launched last year.

In September, the Council approved the contract for River North Transit LLC (otherwise known as Via), a multinational company that operates in over 80 cities. The service will be an additional option for transportation within the limits of the pilot program boundaries, which includes as far west as the CrossPlex and extends downtown, with access to hospitals and grocery stores.

In order to ride, there is a flat fee of $1.50 per rider, each way. On average, the vehicle will pick up riders within 15 minutes. People will be able to access rides by downloading the Via app, they can call 205–236–0768 or they can order a ride online. The company currently operates six branded Mercedes Metris vans that will transport riders. Rides are available Monday — Friday 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

So far over 16,000 riders have utilized the new ridesharing program. Tuesday’s vote extends the contract agreement until October 31, 2020.

Full Agenda

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Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council

Tweets from The Birmingham City Council in Birmingham, Alabama