The Columbus City Council had already made up its mind to grant Janet Morris a zoning variance Tuesday night.
Two recommendations to deny — both on different grounds — from the Planning and Zoning Commission and 15 residents from Morris” East Columbus neighborhood showing up to oppose the store were not enough to dissuade the council from voting 4-2 to allow Morris to add a 400-square-foot shoe store to her Beauté Salon on Warpath Road.
Morris was the lone citizen present at Tuesday”s meeting in support of the variance. During a brief statement to the council she cited a “need for quality shoes in this neighborhood.”
Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin moved to deny the request but received just one concurring vote from Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box.
After Mayor Robert Smith pronounced the motion dead, Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem moved to grant Morris” request under the restrictions that her store be used solely for shoe sales, operate between the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and revert back to R-1 residential use if she should violate the agreement or sell the store to anyone who chose not to continue to sell shoes.
The motion passed 4-2.
Karriem offered no explanation for his motion Tuesday, but has stated in the past his belief that the character of the Warpath Road neighborhood changed when the new Lowndes County Health Department was built on the corner of Warpath and Lehmberg Road.
In other business the board:
- Heard from Robert Burt, director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation”s Freight, Rails, Ports and Waterways Division, regarding a $50,000 grant from MDOT for the closing of two railroad crossings on Eighth Avenue North and Ninth Avenue North.
- Accepted a donated plot of land at Burns Bottom from Eddie Green for use in the planned soccer complex. Green donated the land under the condition the council would grant him permission to add improvements to an adjacent piece of land, which would not meet the minimum size requirement for improvements following the donation.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.
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