***UPDATE: The community meeting went exceedingly well. You can read an account and see video from New American Journal here. The Mobile Planning Commission eventually voted to deny the re-zoning request.
Proposed Re-Zoning from Residential to Heavy Industrial in Historic Africatown Outrages Residents
Yorktown Missionary Baptist Church Hosts Community Meeting with Developer, Councilman Manzie
On Tuesday, December 16 at 6:00 PM at Yorktown Missionary Baptist Church, residents of the Historic Africatown/Plateau neighborhood will meet to discuss their concerns about Bean Properties, LLC’s proposed re-zoning of a Residential (R-1) property to Heavy Industry (I-2). Bob Collins, the sole proprietor of Bean Properties, LLC, has indicated in permit applications intentions to clear and pave most of the currently wooded fields of the 17.7 acre pair of lots immediately across the Papermill Road from the old IP site, which many residents suspect is contaminated and in need of remediation. These plans would ostensibly allow for the construction of two warehouses totaling over 125,000 square feet with offices, though once re-zoned I-2 the property could then become any number of even less desirable industrial activities.
Residents of Historic Africatown/Plateau working together with the Africatown Community Development Corporation (Africatown CDC) have sought RESTORE Act funding for support of an alternative vision for their community including the properties in question. Africatown CDC President Joél Lewis, a direct descendent of Africatown’s founder Cudjo Lewis, will take the opportunity to brief Mr. Collins and meeting attendees on the plans about which she and many, many others aspire to be in partnership with the City of Mobile and other interested parties.
The City of Mobile Planning Commission is currently set to vote on the proposed re-zoning on Thursday, December 18 despite the very small window of time given to consider the concerns of residents of Historic Africatown/Plateau.
MEJAC is a coalition of greater Mobile residents and civic organizations working in solidarity with our communities on the frontlines of environmental injustice to defend the inalienable rights to clean air, water, soil, as well as the human rights to health and safety. MEJAC stands for community self-determination.