Council adopts urban redevelopment plan

The Alabaster City Council has cleared the way for the city of Alabaster to acquire property in the Interstate-65, Exit 238 project area as an urban redevelopment project.

Last Monday night, the council approved a resolution on a 6-0-1 vote with Councilmember Bobby Harris abstaining to adopt the I-65, 238 Urban Renewal and Urban Redevelopment Plan.

Despite concerns expressed by residents of the area, defined by Harris as Ward 1 representative, the council made it clear that there are only three choices … deal with a developer directly over the price of their land, deal with a developer through city attorney Greg Morris or sell to the city at fair market value.

Colonial Properties Trust is the developer of the planned Walmart Supercenter commercial development

to be located at the intersection of Interstate-65 and U.S. Highway 31 in Alabaster.

According to information previously provided by Cam Ward, director of the Alabaster Industrial Development Board, Colonial Properties Trust will build a new retail center on a 400-acre development.

He said the development will include a more-than-800,000-square-feet outdoor shopping center.

However, Ward said, at this point Walmart is the only announced commitment to the shopping center.

According to the resolution adopted by the council on Monday, the project area &uot;is blighted, contains blighting factors or is in the process of becoming blighted.

&uot;That the blight and blighting factors existing in the project area impair economic values and tax revenues and, if the project area is not renewed and redeveloped, can cause an increase in the spread of disease and crime, and can constitute a menace to health, safety, morals and welfare of the residents of the city of Alabaster.&uot;

Further, the resolution stated: &uot;That it is necessary and in the public interest that the city acquire or cause to be acquired by purchase or the exercise of the power of eminent domain all or any part of the real property identified within the project area as it deems necessary, convenient or proper to implement the Exit 238 plan ….&uot;

Under the plan adopted, the mayor has full power to enter into agreements with one or more re-developers to carry out the purposes of the plan relating to infrastructure.

He shall also have the power to dispose of the property at its use value.

Mayor David Frings said he would keep the council involved in the process.

While many residents of the area expressed concern that their property might be purchased at less than fair market value or that they did not want to move, no action was forthcoming to reconsider the matter.

However, Harris told the crowd that if they felt the price of their property was not right to talk to city attorney Greg Morris.

Councilmember Tommy Ryals explained that those with property in the project area can deal with a developer on the price of their property.

However, he said, by law, if it comes to the city, the city can only pay fair market value.

Ryals suggested that property owners in the area get their own property appraised to know if they are being offered a fair price