City approves nuisance abatement board

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Over the objection of Councilmember Jerry Workman and a few citizens, the Alabaster City Council approved an ordinance to create a nuisance abatement board Monday night.

City Attorney Greg Morris said the purpose of the board is to maintain a &8220;certain level of

quality of housing in the community.&8221;

He said the board&8217;s primarily concern would be &8220;unsafe structures&8221; and &8220;unsafe houses fallen to disrepair.&8221;

He described a house with weeds growing to the roof and trees growing through the roof as an example.

He said it did not concern homes in need of paint, but unsafe structures… the floors are collapsed and the condition is &8220;uninhabitable.&8221;

According to Morris, the board would be made up of seven members from each ward appointed by the city councilmembers from each ward.

But citizens were concerned that a lot of residents have problems and don&8217;t have the money to fix their places up.

One man questioned who is to say a floor is unsafe unless someone knocks on the door and inspects it.

Workman noted deadlines to repair or buildings would be demolished such as 60 days. He questioned definitions in the ordinance that would create the board such as &8220;unwholesome.&8221;

He also asked the council to amend the ordinance to provide assurances that the board would not address inhabited houses.

But a motion by Workman to that end failed with only he and Councilmember Bob Hicks in Favor.

A motion to approve the ordinance passed 6-1 with only Workman opposed.

Under the ordinance, a property owner would be entitled to a hearing before the board and an appeal before the City Council.

Morris said further appeal could be made in circuit court