Council approves Oaklyn Hills repaving project

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Crews could begin repaving damaged neighborhood roads in the Oaklyn Hills subdivision as early as Nov. 15, after the Pelham City Council voted unanimously to fund the repaving project during a Nov. 8 special meeting.

During the meeting, the council agreed to accept a $167,030 bid from the Birmingham-based Norris Paving and Asphalt Company to repair the roads and install an asphalt seal coat in the neighborhood.

The motion came one week after the City Council delayed its vote on the matter after some council members requested more time to review the bids.

“The ship has come into port tonight. Sometimes you encounter storms along the way, and we have certainly encountered some storms with this project,” Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said to about 30 Oaklyn Hills residents who attended the meeting.

Some Oaklyn Hills homeowners have been attempting to have the roads repaired for more than two years, said Jim Dollar, former president of the Oaklyn Hills Homeowners Association.

“I spoke with (former) mayor (Bobby) Hayes in the last six months of his term, and I was assured at that time that before he got out of office our roads would be fixed,” Dollar told the council. “We have been going through this for two-and-a-half years now, and we are ready for something to be done.”

After the subdivision’s developer failed to bring the roads up to city standards, Pelham sued the developer.

When the case was settled in early August, the city received eight undeveloped lots in the neighborhood and about $112,000 in bond money the developer put up when work on the subdivision began.

Because the city will put any money it gains by selling the lots in the future into Pelham’s capital improvement budget, the lawsuit settlement will fund the entire repaving project.

Councilman Steve Powell, who said he had reservations about voting on the repaving project during the council’s Nov. 1 meeting, said the extra week gave him time to study the bids and ensure the project will be completed satisfactorily.

“The legal action against the developer was dismissed on August 16. The first time the council was made aware of that fact was November 1,” Powell said. “That was 77 days and seven council meetings ago.

“Delaying the vote was not an effort to take control or slow anything down,” Powell added, noting he received much feedback from Oaklyn Hills residents after the council delayed the vote. “I want your roads fixed, but I want it done with the comfort that they are going to last.”

However, Murphy said the city posts notices whenever a project goes out for bids, and said he “wished the roads were already repaved.”

“When we go out for bids, we have to notify the press and run announcements in the paper. We also put it on our city website and post it on the bulletin board here in City Hall. We have to do that by law,” Murphy said. “If we don’t know anything, it’s because we aren’t looking.

“Y’all have suffered long enough,” Murphy added. “I’m sorry the council didn’t have the confidence in me to do this last week.”