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Pinson tables discussing rezoning of land for Kellogg’s warehouse

By Lee Weyhrich

PINSON — Tony the Tiger might not be welcome in Pinson, at least without some restrictions.

The Pinson City Council voted last Thursday to table a discussion regarding the rezoning of property to allow a Kellogg’s brand distributorship warehouse.

The property, located at 7068 Highway 75, is owned by Jason Stidham, who currently has a warehouse elsewhere for the cereal giant. Stidham bought the property in order to build a much larger facility.

Stidham’s contractor, Chase Harrison, spoke to the city council about the proposed facility. The company currently employs around six people, and Harrison believes an additional six to 12 jobs might be created in the Pinson area as a result of this expansion.

Pinson City Hall
file photo by Gary Lloyd

“As far as aesthetics, visual look, noise control and that kind of thing, Mr. Stidham and his company are not doing any kind of manufacturing in this building,” Harrison said. “There will be nothing more than a forklift. It’s a storage building for the Kellogg products.”

Harrison insisted that the warehouse wouldn’t increase traffic significantly. The warehouse would receive a maximum of two semi truck deliveries per week and would only have two smaller delivery trucks moving products from the warehouse to retailers.

There are a few problems with the proposal for city officials. For one, the property, currently zoned agricultural residential, is adjacent to Pinson Valley High School. For another thing, the property touches on a neighborhood on Henry Black Drive. The rezoning would also clash with the city master plan and was unanimously voted against by the Planning Commission.

Harrison believes the warehouse would have no effect on the school. On a road where hundreds of semi trucks pass by each day, Harrison said, two more per week would make little difference. As for the residences and the school property itself, he insists that the warehouse would be quiet and hidden well.

According to the drawings, the building would be placed on a part of the property furthest away from the high school and the houses, with buffer zones surrounding the property. The property is located in a valley surrounded by trees.

Lynn Hogan, who owns property adjacent to that in question, believes that despite the company representative’s assurances, the warehouse could only lead to trouble down the road.

“I have nothing against someone expanding their business or what have you,” Hogan said. “However, he says he’s planning on doubling everything. Well, six employees goes to 12 to 15 employees. That’s in a curve (on the highway). It’s right next to the school. Traffic there is already atrocious and I just feel that this is not a good area for us to have this.”

Two other property owners spoke against the rezoning, one claiming that the dry food products could attract rats to the area around the school.

Since the property is currently zoned for residential agriculture, Councilman Robbie Roberts believes the impact of a warehouse might not be much different. Roberts said the impact of the warehouse might not be any worse than if a farmer were to put the legally allowed number of chickens, goats or cows on the property.

Despite the unanimous decision of the Planning Commission to deny the rezoning, Roberts believes that with the proper covenants in place — legally binding agreements between the property owner and the city on what can and can’t be done on the property — the warehouse could be beneficial to everyone.

Thee covenants would extend to any future owners of the property as well. Violation of the covenants could lead to jail time.

Councilman John Churchwell made a motion to table the decision until all options had been investigated. The Pinson City Council next meets Thursday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Pinson City Hall.

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