City considering neighborhood repaving plan

Published 2:22 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council likely will vote during its May 7 meeting on a plan to repave several of the city’s deteriorating residential roads.

Alabaster Mayor David Frings recently submitted a “street remediation and resurfacing” plan to the council, which calls for about $1.5 million in resurfacing to several residential roads not completed by the neighborhoods’ original developers.

In the early and mid-2000s, Alabaster, like many area cities, saw a high level of new residential development. Before the economic downturn began in 2007, Alabaster approved several hundred new home permits per year.

When the developers began building their neighborhoods, they obtained permits from the city and pledged a certain amount of bond money to ensure the neighborhood’s streets would be brought up to city standards after the subdivision was a certain percent complete.

However, some developers went bankrupt or abandoned their developments before bringing their roads up to the city’s standards. By law, Alabaster is not allowed to accept ownership of a road until the road is brought up to city standards.

When a developer abandons a neighborhood without bringing the roads up to standard, the city must demand the bond money from the developer.

If the developer refuses to surrender the bond money, the city usually is forced to sue them to secure the bond.

Because the legal process can take years, Frings said he would like the city to take steps to repair the roads while it waits for all of the bond money to arrive.

“When it’s in front of your house, it doesn’t matter if the developer abandoned it or not. You look to the city to pick up the slack. We can’t just let (the roads) go back to dirt,” Frings said, noting the plan calls for repaving work in Golden Meadows, Grande View Estates and other neighborhoods.

Alabaster is set to receive about $1.2 million in bond money, which Frings said will help offset the majority of the $1.5 million neighborhood resurfacing cost.

Frings’ plan also included about $210,000 worth of road resurfacing requested by the city’s Department of Public Works. The City Council recently approved the purchase of a $60,000 asphalt patching machine, which Frings said will help the city save money by doing some paving work in-house.

“The roads are getting to a point where it will cost us more and more to fix them if we don’t do it soon,” Frings said.