City seeks to take church

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The city of Alabaster has added Grace Baptist Church (actually, Grace Full Gospel Church) as a defendant in its condemnation action to seek property through the power of eminent domain.

According to a motion to add the additional party and property

filed on behalf of the city of Alabaster in Shelby County Probate Court, the city has moved to add Grace Baptist Church to its complaint for condemnation along with an original defendant in Mattie S. Taylor.

Taylor is also referred to in the filings as Mattie L Taylor.

Greg Morris, who serves as an attorney for the city of Alabaster, said the city has been aware of the church on the property since beginning the takeover procedure.

He said that area is a part of

property the city is already seeking in its re-development area.

The city of Alabaster began the eminent domain takeover process to acquire land for a Wal-Mart Supercenter and municipal facilities, according to city officials.

He explained that the church was added as a defendant as a

possible owner of the property along with the Rev. Clifton and Mattie L. Taylor, who are represented by Pelham attorney Jim Pino in a federal lawsuit seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the city from taking action against their property based upon the city’s finding that the area is blighted.

Also sought in federal court is a judgment that the designation of the plan area as blighted under the community renewal plan adopted by the city is invalid.

Pino is claiming on behalf of his clients that there is no valid urban renewal or redevelopment plan involving the the property.

Pino has also filed a motion probate court to halt the decision pending a federal court ruling.

According to Mattie S. Taylor, she received the church property through her brother. She said she put the land in both her name and that of the church.

While she said the church was originally called Grace Baptist Church, it is now Grace Full Gospel Church.

Taylor said both she and her husband serve as pastors of the church which carries 56 members on its roster but has an average attendance of 16 to 18 members every Sunday.

Taylor said the church has been located on the property for 22 years.

Pino filed the federal case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division.

As late as Monday afternoon in Shelby County Probate Court, Pino accepted service of the amended compliant involving Mattie S. Taylor. He also filed an answer. And in addition to moving to consolidate the cases of his clients, he moved that the court continue those cases until January 2004.

Cases Pino wants the court

to consolidate include Emma Spence, Earnestine Oden, Mary Hall, Ernest Wright, James E. Hall and Mattie S. Taylor.