Council answers lawsuit questions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

The Alabaster City Council found itself having to explain a legal action referred to as a &uot;friendly lawsuit&uot;

to receive a judge’s approval on a proposed $2 million bond issue at its Monday,

Jan. 6 regular meeting.

The action to take a $2,040,000 bond agreement to provide infrastructure for the White Stone retail shopping center before a judge for &uot;validation&uot; was taken during a special meeting of the City Council held on Nov. 25.

The matter was set to be heard by a judge today.

Ken Murray of 221 Trade Winds Circle, Alabaster asked what the $2 million would be spent on.

Former Alabaster Police Chief Larry Richard Rollan

questioned the friendly nature of the lawsuit and the way it was handled in special session.

Council President Rick Walters explained that the money would be spent on infrastructure for the White Stone retail shopping development which he said will provide citizens with access to neighborhood shopping.

He said infrastructure includes such items as detention ponds, water drainage, sewer lines, turn lanes and parking lots.

He said the legal action he called &uot;a friendly lawsuit&uot; was intended to get a judge to blessing on the bond agreement before the city

proceeds with the bond issue.

Walters also explained that the bonds to be issued are called &uot;taxable&uot; because those who buy them will have to pay taxes on profits.

Walters said the city probably could have approved the bond issue without the court action, but he said the council &uot;went the extra mile.&uot;

He said he &uot;apologized to the citizens of Alabaster&uot; because he did not know the legal action would &uot;appear as it did.&uot;

Walters said the action was taken in a special meeting because it was not ready in time for the previous meeting and it had to be done to get the validation before a judge.

He also explained that deadlines caused the matter to miss the city’s newsletter.

Rollan asked if

the lawsuit were friendly if that meant a judge would rule in the council’s favor even if citizens objected.

To that Walters responded that he did not know what a judge would do.

Walters stressed that if a judge does rule in the city’s

favor, &uot;the citizens of Alabaster win.&uot;

He said the city will receive $900,000 a year in taxes from the retail development which will go to pay for city services. He said if a judge rules against the city, the city will lose $900,000 a year.

According to Walters, once approved, the city will execute the sale of the bonds to provide infrastructure for the proposed retail development which will be located at Fulton Springs Road and Highway 119.

John Argo, vice president, retail development for Aronov Realty, has said White Stone will include about 22 acres and while be a grocery anchored shopping center with satellite businesses and specialty shops.

Aronov Realty Management Inc. is based in Montgomery.

In another matter, over the opposition of at least one resident, the council unanimously approved a

request from Kenneth Carter to rezone about 11.4 acres of property adjacent to the Scottsdale Subdivision from A-1 (Agriculture) to R-3 (Residential).

Councilmember Tommy Ryals pointed out that the request was upgraded from R-4 (Patio Homes) to R-3 (homes with a minimum size of 1,400 square feet).

And he said the proposed development amounts to an extension of the Scottsdale Subdivision. He also pointed out the R-3 zoning request

would mean fewer… 20-25 additional homes.

While Ryals said several residents were concerned about the entrance off Heather Lane, he said the matter before the council was just rezoning and did not address roads.

He said that aspect would be addressed by the Planning and Zoning Board.

Mike Honeycutt of Heather Lane spoke against the rezoning request.

While he raised the issue of people speeding and kids playing in the street, he also said he was opposed to the additional homes.

With regard to speeders, Honeycutt

asked if there were additional houses, &uot;what’s going to stop them?&uot;

He also questioned the 1,400 square foot size of the proposed additional homes noting that most are larger

in the subdivision and that his own is about 2,000 square feet.

Councilmember Michael Sherwood pointed out that a preliminary plat has not been received on the proposed subdivision and that the developer will discuss road options.

Following a public hearing, the council unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the lease of space to the Industrial Development Bard. And the council approved a

request from the city to rezone 100 acres from agricultural to institutional for a sports complex.

Mayor David Frings reported that construction on Highway 119 should resume this week.

He said the county has completed a traffic study for a traffic signal and turn lane at 95 and 64.

But Frings said railroad crossings remain a problem and that while the city is trying to work with CSX he has been unable to get confirmation of pending improvements.

The mayor said a meeting was scheduled on improvements to a house for senior citizens, that talks with the Regional Planning Commission are going well for a Buck Creek trail from the park to the high school.

And he said Visual Enhancement Grant work should being in mid January.

The Mayor and Park and Recreation Director Marie Jordan presented a plaque of appreciation to Frank Smeraglia who is ending his term on the Park and Recreation Board.

And in other matters, the council:

Approved a transfer of licensee application for 050 retail beer (off premises only) and 070 retail table wine (off premises only) for SSS Inc. dba CC Food Mart, 151 Industrial Road.

Set a public hearing for Tuesday, Jan. 21 on an annexation request from D & D LLC for two parcels of land about .871 acres and 7.180 acres between U.S. Highway 31 and I-65.

Set a council work session for Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

The next regular meeting of council will be held on Jan. 21 because Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be Jan. 20