Photos by Jon Anderson.
The owners of the historic Hoover-Randle Home on Tyler Road in Bluff Park want to turn it into a wedding and event venue.
The owners of the historic Hoover-Randle Home in Bluff Park are proceeding with plans to turn it into a venue for weddings, corporate meetings and events.
The Hoover City Council gave its approval to the plan on April 18, despite opposition from some nearby residents concerned about the noise and traffic such a commercial venture might bring to their residential neighborhood.
The owners and residents of the house for nearly 29 years, Ed and Barbara Randle, worked with neighbors over the past several months to reach a compromise. Some neighbors were satisfied with restrictions being put on the proposed business, but others still weren’t sold on the idea.
Mike Mueller, who lives next to the Randles’ historic home on Tyler Road, told the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission in February (when the issue first came up) that he respects the Randles but doesn’t like the idea of having a commercial business in the neighborhood at all, and particularly not one that specializes in parties.
When he comes home, he wants to be able to enjoy the peace and quiet, he said.
“A man’s home is his castle,” Mueller said. “The Hoover-Randle house is a beautiful place. I think the house should be preserved as a single-family residence, and it should be enjoyed by a family. I don’t think it should be commercialized.”
Julia Christopher, another neighbor, said she was concerned about noise, but also the possibility of people parking along Tyler Road to attend events there. Several residents said they were concerned that their quality of life would suffer and property values would decrease because of the business in the neighborhood.
The zoning board in February continued the case for a month to give Randle time to work out a compromise. Randle invited his neighbors to his house to talk about their concerns and agreed to several restrictions before the zoning board gave its OK in March.
►Events at the Hoover-Randle Home will be limited to less than 100 people, and all event activities will be limited to the first floor of the house.
►Parking will be limited to places on the property approved by the fire marshal, an adjacent lot owned by the Randles and the parking lot of the nearby Shades Mountain Independent Church. Shuttles will be used to take people back and forth to the church parking lot for all events.
►Events will have to occur between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
►All live music will have to be inside the house or on the covered patio, and no amplified music — live or recorded — will be allowed.
►At least one off-duty Hoover police officer will have to be hired to provide security and traffic and parking control for all events.
►Permission for use of the house as a business will end if the Randle family sells the house or sells the company that will manage it.
Some residents wanted to forbid events on Sundays and to put a cap on the number of events that can be held in a given year, but Ed Randle said he could not accept those restrictions.
Mueller said after the zoning board’s vote that he was still opposed to turning the house into a commercial venture but realizes he’s not the only person involved. “I hope it works out for the best,” he said.
Randle said he understands why some neighbors are concerned, but there won’t be as many events taking place as they fear.
He and his wife plan to move into the smaller house they own next door, and they don’t want any nuisances either, he said. He promised to work with neighbors to prevent problems.
The whole idea of the event venue is to preserve the historic property once he and his wife move out, he said.
The house was built by William Hoover, the founder of Hoover, in 1947 as a residence for his family. The Hoovers lived there for 40 years until the house was sold to the Randles in 1987, according to the historical marker along Tyler Road.
Randle said he and his wife bought the home to preserve it and expanded it from about 3,000 square feet to about 8,000 square feet. In addition to living there, they have used it to host more than 50 charity functions over the years and held a few family weddings there, he said.
If they were to sell it to someone else, someone else might want to add more homes on the five acres that contain expansive gardens, and that could destroy some of the beauty of the place, he said.
“We feel like it is a treasure that needs to be preserved,” Randle said. “I think that property is one of the few historical points in the city. Hoover’s not old enough to have a whole lot of that.”
Randle also said he envisions it being used more for events such as corporate meetings and parties than weddings.
It likely will be late summer to early fall before the house is ready for use as a commercial venue, he said. Much work has to be done to make it compliant with regulations, including the fire code and the Americans With Disabilities Act, he said.
Hoover Councilman John Lyda, who also sits on the zoning board, commended Randle and his neighbors for the way they handled their disagreements. In the 3½ years he has been on the zoning board, he has never seen that much cooperation between an applicant and neighbors, he said.
“It is very refreshing to see neighbors come together to work through issues,” Lyda said.