The owner of the old Continental Inn site was given until January to come up with a plan for the property where more than 50 semi-trailers have been parked for over a year, to the consternation of neighbors and adjacent business owners.
The Board of Adjustment postponed a decision at its Friday meeting over objections of Eastland Parkway Neighborhood Association president Loys Mather, who pointed out that a hearing also had been postponed in November. "This situation has been going on for a long time, and we would appreciate getting a resolution," Mather told the board.
The trailers, owned by Emergency Disaster Services, have been converted to mobile laundries, eating facilities and command centers. These mobile units can be bought or rented by sheriffs' departments or municipalities during an emergency such as a hurricane to house and feed workers.
Jerry Lundergan, owner of the EDS business and Lundy's Special Events catering service, said he leases and sells the trailers from the 11-acre site at the corner of Eastland Parkway and New Circle Road, a use permitted on the property zoned B-3 for highway services.
Lundergan is one of several people who bought the Continental Inn, which he told the Board of Adjustment was "a house of ill repute." The owners spent more than $750,000 to demolish the structure, he said. "I think we did the community a service" in tearing it down.
But neighbors have complained for over a year that the site is being used as a truck terminal. They have called it a major eyesore at a prominent entrance to the neighborhood.
Lundergan's attorney Rena Wiseman told the board, "We acknowledge the site is not in compliance" with what the city requires for a sales and lease lot. But within 30 days, she said, a plan will be developed for the property and steps taken to enclose it with a fence and install landscaping.
Jim Hume, senior building inspector, visited the site on Wednesday and counted 50 EDS trailers and 14 others identified as Lundy's Special Events. The Lundy's trailers were "in clear violation" of city zoning ordinances.
"There are other issues rather than needing a little landscaping," Hume said. "Until we see the site plan and evaluate it, I don't think this can be resolved in 30 days."
After the meeting, Lundergan said the Lundy trailers are being moved. Trailers parked along Eastland Parkway to block drivers from cutting across the site have been moved and gates installed. A metal structure that covered the Continental Inn swimming pool will be removed in the spring.
Sixth district councilman Kevin Stinnett, who represents the Eastland neighborhood, expressed disappointment at the postponement. "People are frustrated," he said.
Stinnett said Lundergan told him earlier in the week of planned changes to clean up the property. "I would like to see that put in a letter to the neighborhood association," Stinnett said. "That would go a long way to being a good neighbor."