Alabaster considering moratorium on some businesses

Published 8:42 pm Monday, July 7, 2014

The Alabaster City Council is considering a moratorium on certain types of businesses. (File)

The Alabaster City Council is considering a moratorium on certain types of businesses. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – If Alabaster moves forward with a moratorium on certain businesses, it likely will not be as far-reaching as a similar moratorium recently passed in Pelham, City Council members said during a July 7 work session.

During the work session, council members discussed the possibility of enacting a moratorium on businesses such as payday and car title loan establishments, which would prevent those types of businesses from coming to the city after the moratorium is enacted.

Rakestraw said her primary concern is for Alabaster’s new Medical Mile district, which stretches along U.S. 31 around the Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

“It’s to prevent a problem, and to protect any overlay we would have with the Medical Mile,” Ward 3 Councilwoman Stacy Rakestraw said. “It wouldn’t affect anyone that’s already here. It would keep them from coming in in the future.”

Alabaster City Manager George Henry said cities such as Northport, Tuscaloosa and Pelham currently have similar moratoriums in place.

Pelham’s moratorium, which was passed in June and is effective for a year, applies to a wide range of businesses, including payday loans, car title loans, check cashing, gold and silver brokers, tattoo parlors, pawn shops, vape shops, tobacco shops and used automobile sales establishments.

Some Alabaster council members said they likely would not support a moratorium similar to Pelham’s.

“I don’t necessarily know that we’ve got these places popping up everywhere,” Council President Scott Brakefield said, drawing agreements from council members Russell Bedsole and Sophie Martin.

“I don’t think there’s a big enough problem right now,” Martin said. “I worry that it will send a message that big government is trying to put the hammer down.”

The matter likely will not be on the agenda for the council’s July 14 meeting, as council members said they plan to continue discussion on the matter.

“We will continue to discuss this,” Brakefield said. “I don’t think there’s enough support for us to do it the way Pelham has it written.”