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Request for lot combo for parking delayed

By Kevin Elliott


The Fred Lavery Porsche car dealership sought to reschedule a public hearing at the Birmingham City Commission on Monday, December 21, until late January in hopes of being able to demolish a building at Haynes and Woodward to make room for additional parking, which is currently against city ordinances in the city's Triangle District.


“There are a number of moving pieces relative to these parcels, including for example, the Worth Street realignment project, which may run through the Haynes property,” said attorney Jason Canvasser, representing the dealership. “We would like an adjournment until January 25 to not only serve to allow the commission time to review the application, but also ask the commission to direct the city manager to meet with us so we can talk about different options and work on both short-term and long-term plans as we look to the current and future master plan.”


City planning staff recommended denying the request, as it was found to be inconsistent with the city’s zoning ordinance and wasn’t applicable to the master plan for the Triangle District.


Specifically, the request was to combine two parcels in order to accommodate additional parking. The dealership is located at 34350 Woodward while a two-story commercial building is located at 907-911 Haynes Street. Lavery is hoping to combine the two parcels and demolish the two-story building to make way for a surface parking lot.


In 2016, Lavery received a special land use permit for the Haynes property to use as an office for one year while renovations were made to the main dealership. That approval required that cars parked for sale couldn’t be on the Haynes Street property. In January of 2020, Lavery requested an amendment and the proposed lot combination to expand parking. That request was subsequently withdrawn on January 22, and is expected to go before the commission again on January 25, 2021.


Commissioner Stuart Sherman recommended pushing the hearing into February in order to ensure the city’s long-range planning priorities are incorporated into any meeting, as well as to allow incoming city manager Tom Markus time to address any issues.


Outgoing city manager Joe Valentine said working with property owners on long-range planning is key to healthy development.


“The question is, ‘how do you incorporate these (long-term) plans with what they want to do so it’s mutually beneficial,’” Valentine said. “The only way to incorporate these plans into properties we don’t own is to have these meetings with property owners.”

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