FLORENCE — The city Planning Commission will consider whether to recommend rezoning property today that could have a direct bearing on a Chinese company's offer to buy the former Florence Golf and Country Club.
Mayor Mickey Haddock has been authorized by the City Council to perform due diligence and negotiate a sales contract with Guizhou Shenqi Group and its chairman, Zhang Zhiting, for the 155-acre property. The city bought the golf and country club in November 2009 with the intent of using a small portion of it to expand the adjacent municipal solid waste landfill, which has since been closed.
"The rezoning is part of the due diligence process," Haddock said. "It's my understanding that it must be rezoned to allow construction of student housing."
Zhang has offered $2.1 million for the land and club house, which is slightly more than the council paid for the land. He proposes a partnership with the University of North Alabama to establish an integrative health teaching facility for up to 1,000 master-degree level students. The state already has approved the curriculum at UNA's request.
The Planning Commission is being asked to recommend changing the zone from floodway, agricultural and recreational to residential-business. If the commission votes for the change, it will be forwarded to the City Council for final approval.
Haddock said he hopes to have an offer finalized by early March.
The city moved its senior center activities to the club house, as well as most of the Street Department and Recycling Department offices. If the purchase is approved, the city would have up to one year to relocate the offices and programs.
Also on today's meeting agenda is a request by C.K. Irby for final re-subdivision on a parcel on Lawrence Avenue just south of Hermitage Drive. Irby wants to create five single-family building lots. Earlier, Irby tried to have the property rezoned for apartments but was not successful.
The commission meets at 5 p.m. in the City Hall auditorium on Pine Street.
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.