Eminent domain fight continues

Eminent domain, retired employee benefits and parks were highlights of Monday night’s Alabaster City Council meeting.

According to city attorney Greg Morris, legal action toward the resolution of the acquisition of property by the city through eminent domain is continuing at both the federal and county probate court level.

Councilmember Bobby Harris asked Morris to update the public on what is happening.

According to Morris, the city has filed its answer to a federal lawsuit which has been construed as a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the lawsuit.

And he reported that a hearing slated in Shelby County Probate Court yesterday, concerned two motions. Attorney Jim Pino filed a motion to stay probate court condemnation proceedings on property being sought by the city until the federal court rules on his clients’ lawsuit. And Morris said the city of Alabaster had filed a motion for the probate court to mediate the eminent domain action.

Morris said the city wanted to do everything it could to settle with defendants so they could get every dollar they could.

The comment by Morris was greeted by a groan from residents in attendance at the meeting.

The council voted unanimously approved rezoning requests concerning the area of park property

acquired by the city off Highway 119.

Following a public hearing, the council voted to rezone two parcels of about eight acres each from municipal reserve to B-3 (community business) and 82 acres to be used for a city park from municipal reserve to institutional. The request was made by KenCar Development.

In a related matter, the council will hold a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. to review and award a bid for the first phase of the Highway

119 park project.

Explaining the special meeting, Councilmember Jim McClain said the city wants to have the park complete by early spring.

The council also unanimously approved a resolution to pay a maximum of $375 per month for retired employee single insurance coverage.

Those retired employees who make more than $17,000 may keep their insurance coverage, but the city will not be responsible for any portion of it. Also, once a retired employee drops the insurance, he or she cannot go back on it again.

Councilmember Michael Sherwood said he would like to see the council reconsider the amount paid each budget time.

In other matters:

* Following a public hearing, unanimously approved a rezoning request from The Grove LLC to rezone 35 acres off Highway 12 from municipal reserve to R-3 (10,000 square foot lots and 1,400 square foot homes).

* Following a public hearing,

unanimously approved a rezoning request from the Alabaster Industrial Development Board

to rezone about 20 acres at Buck Creek Mill from M-2 (heavy industry) to B-3 community business.

* Approved the water board to sell surplus property.

* Set a public hearing for Nov. 3 to upgrade the city’s fines schedule. This has to do with wording.

* Announced a work session will be held on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. in the conference room.

* Held an executive session concerning pending legal matters and adjourned.

* The minutes of the Oct. 6, 2003 were also approved as corrected with Councilmember Henry Hines abstained. Hines had been listed as present, but was absent from the Oct. 6 meeting.

Among other matters:

Mayor David Frings congratulated the Thompson High School Band on recent awards received in Hoover and at Pell City.

He thanked Ted Vodde and Cam Ward for their help with the International Council of Shopping Center attended by city representatives in Atlanta.

And Frings thanked Wal-Mart

for giving the city a three-door commercial freezer and popcorn poppers and reported on the status of park projects.

McLain announced two openings on the Park and Recreation Board