Council should have listened

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Residents in Alabaster’s Ward 1, where a 100-acre development is planned, are staring down the threat of eminent domain legal action.

With or without their consent, &uot;progress&uot; seems to be coming their way.

The shopping center planned for the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. Highway 31 would be the biggest in Shelby County, officials say.

The Alabaster City Council declared the area blighted and that its best use would be commercial development.

Because some of the residents in the path of the shopping center haven’t reached a deal with developers to sell their property, however, the council has decided to seek eminent domain action if necessary.

The Alabaster City Council declined to comment about the I-65 development plan at Monday night’s meeting, citing pending litigation.

While the council is not at fault for their silence, their attempt to discourage those affected by the plan from speaking was certainly disappointing.

A council meeting, by its very nature, should allow citizens a chance to voice their opinions concerning city business.

Alabaster, in fact, has a designated portion of the meeting for this purpose.

However, during Monday’s meeting, comments from the council discouraged residents from speaking about the eminent domain process.

While councilmembers were certainly not obligated to make any reply whatsoever, they could at least have shown the respect of listening to those residents who lives will certainly change with the prospect of eminent domain action