HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Opponents of a Huntsville abortion clinic have filed an appeal in Madison County Circuit Court, in an attempt to stop the clinic from moving to a location on Sparkman Drive. The appeal follows an August decision by the Board of Zoning Adjustment to allow the location’s medical variance to stand.
The property at 4831 Sparkman Drive is zoned residential but was granted a medical variance to operate in 1998, when it was originally an obstetrics and gynecology practice. The owners of the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives bought the property after closing down their facility on Madison Street in June. The downtown Huntsville building did not comply with new, tougher state standards for abortion clinic safety.
Although pro-life activists fought the transfer of the variance to the abortion clinic, the zoning board ruled 3 to 2 to allow the transfer to stand. This week, nearly two dozen complainants filed an appeal. They’re asking the court to issue a stay, which would halt any work on the property while the appeal is weighed. They also want the building permits revoked, the variance nullified and any future variance applications denied.
Rev. James Henderson is one of the complainants. He says the biggest objection to the Sparkman Drive property is its proximity to a school, adding, “our discussions with the people in the neighborhood, business, churches, residents – nobody wants an abortion clinic near that school – so to even think about getting a new variance is ridiculous.”
The zoning board is represented in the case by F&B Law Firm of Huntsville. The firm had no comment regarding the appeal.