Alabaster has 90 days to decide on Buck Creek Mill property

The city of Alabaster wants to negotiate a 90-day timeframe to let AmSouth Bank know if it wants to purchase the 20-acre Buck Creek Mill Property.

The council voted 6-1 Monday night with Councilmember Henry Hines opposed to allow Mayor David Frings to negotiate the 90-day

time limit to decide if it wants to buy the property.

Included in the agreement would be &uot;outs&uot; for the city not to purchase the property such as excessive environmental or demolition costs as determined by the city.

Councilmember Tommy Ryals said reports of the city’s intentions with regard to the property were blown out of proportion.

He said the city is trying to plan ahead for a location to build a new city hall and community center.

However, he said the Buck Creek Mill property is only one site being considered, along with three others.

Ryals said the council wants AmSouth Bank which holds the mortgage to the property to allow the city 90 days to conduct what he termed &uot;due diligence&uot; studies. He said the original wording of the proposed agreement was too restrictive.

The changes will give the city an option to change its mind.

While the original mortgage on the property with interest is close to $600,000, Ryals said AmSouth is willing to sell to the city for $200,000.

During its pre-council session, Mayor Frings said his interest has been to secure the property for some positive use such as a city center or to clean it up for office space or retail purposes.

However, he pointed out that

the property is a &uot;safety hazard from youngsters illegally or improperly accessing the property&uot; as it now stands.

Former owner Fred Phillips told the council that his interest in the property was &uot;largely emotional.&uot;

While he said its general configuration might not suit what the city wants, one couldn’t find a &uot;more beautiful place&uot; to put it.

He also said he would like to see the city adopt the name Buck Creek Cotton Mills for the property.

Hines said he was opposed to the Buck Creek negotiation agreement; however, because the property is boxed in by a railroad and backed up by Buck Creek, which often floods, he said. He indicated the property needs to be condemned or cleaned up and that the city could find a site for less money.

In another matter, attorney Greg Morris said he would like to schedule appointments with 10 property owners who have not come to terms with developers in the Interstate 65, Exit 238 urban redevelopment project area where a Walmart Supercenter commercial development is scheduled.

Morris made the statement after Councilmember Bobby Harris asked for an update.

In other actions, the council:

Approved appointments to the Business and Marketing Board ending in March 2005 for David Grodsky, William Hawkins, James Jones, Earl Vandergrift, Chris Freeze and Phillip Morgan. Reappointed Melanie Siow. And set the term ending in 2005 for Linda Hill.

Approved an expense of up to $10,000 to study 82 acres the city is considering to buy off Highway 119 South.

Approved the annexation of 34.72 acres from the Grove LLC on Highway 12 adjoining Meadowview School. Jack Harris said the property will be developed as an upper end residential subdivision.

Set Aug. 18 as the date for public hearings on the rezoning of about half an acre at 2018 Kent Dairy Road from R-3 to B-2 (residential to neighborhood business) and to rezone a 10-foot strip of property between Forest Ridge Subdivision Phase 1 and a proposed Phase 2 off Highway 12 MR to R-2 (municipal reserve to residential).

Rescheduled the Sept. 1

council meeting to Sept. 2