/Council discusses zoning, glass recycling, dance
Graphic by Laryssa Molina-Becerra, Graphic designer.

Council discusses zoning, glass recycling, dance

By Wesley Walter Managing editor 

Students from the University of Montevallo’s Department of Environmental Studies presented research projects to the Montevallo City Council at the council’s April 22 meeting. These projects sought to highlight sustainability and environmental issues in the city.  

UM environmental studies students presented research done in their Environmental Studies Capstone class, taught by environmental science professor Dr. Susan Caplow.  

Two groups of students presented research. The first group researched potential ways for the City of Montevallo to provide glass recycling services.  

Group member Price Alexander said, “As y’all know, we haven’t had glass recycling in Montevallo for, like, 11 years now. There’ve been a few attempts to bring it back, so our job was to figure out what we thought the best course of action was to go about doing that.” 

The group conducted surveys online and at the Montevallo Recycling Center regarding Montevallo citizens’ interest in glass recycling.  

Alexander said of the 150 people surveyed, only three said they were not interested. 

The group then researched how to integrate glass recycling most effectively, with Alexander saying, “We found that getting a glass crusher is the cheapest, most effective and most realistic way that could produce something that we, as a community, could use.” 

They selected an Expleco GLS 2.0 glass crusher as the most economic and practical piece of equipment for the center. Glass fed into the crusher will be recycled into sand. 

The group also found two prospective grants which, if applied for, could finance purchasing the crusher. These grants included an Alabama Department of Environmental Management grant and a UM Green Fund grant. 

Council member David King expressed support for the proposal, pointing out that, while the city must pay to get recycling hauled elsewhere, the glass recycling plan would avoid said costs and create a product for both the city and citizens.  

“What I like about it is that, you know, it’s a useful product that can be used by our city or by our citizens. There’s a lot of people that come to us and they want things; they don’t have a proposal for how to cover the initial setup costs of that. Y’all’ve done that. Bravo,” King said.  

The group asked for the council’s support for their plan, which, if received, would allow them to apply for the proposed grants.  

The second group outlined work they did with ValloCycle, Montevallo’s city-wide bike sharing and rental program.  

The group conducted a survey regarding the use of bikes in Montevallo, reporting that, of the 100 people who responded, 83.3% reported that they seldom or never biked in the city.  

In order to promote biking and sustainable transportation, the group developed a plan to expand the resources provided by ValloCycle. The services they wanted to enact included converting the bike storage facility near City Hall to a “bike kitchen,” or place offering, not just rental bikes, but bike parts, bike repair tools and bicycle mechanic services. 

The council also held public hearings for three resolutions set to be voted on at the meeting. Citizens were invited to share their thoughts regarding the resolutions before the council voted on them later in their meeting.  

One resolution up for discussion centered around a plan to construct an 8,000 square foot equipment storage facility for Beelman Trucking Co. on Industrial Park Road. 

According to Nix, the Planning and Zoning Commission did not recommend the council approve the resolution.  

Nix asked if any attendees were present to speak on behalf of or against Beelman Trucking Co. No attendees replied, and the hearing was called to a close.  

The council voted unanimously to deny the resolution. 

Public hearings were held for two more resolutions, both involving zoning.  

One resolution sought to amend zoning regulations for additional dwellings beyond a primary home in single-family residentially zoned areas outside the city’s urban core.  

Auxiliary structures, such as garage apartments, would be changed from permitted structures— meaning they are automatically approved—to conditional structures that must be approved or denied by the council. 

The council unanimously voted to approve the amendment.  

The second resolution also sought to amend auxiliary structure zoning regulations.  

Reading from the amendment, City Clerk Steve Gilbert said it will, “Limit accessory structures and place language within the zoning ordinances that the structure should be in context with surrounding residential development in both character and in scale.” 

These structures must also share a driveway with the main structure and occupy no more than 30%, or 800 square feet, of the rear yard.  

The council unanimously voted to approve the amendment.  

The council briefly discussed a resolution to authorize the City of Montevallo joining the state of Alabama and Alabama local governments as a participant in current and future class action lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.  

Settlements from these lawsuits are being distributed amongst Alabama local governments to be used for mental health or drug prevention services. Local governments must opt in to accept payments. 

The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.  

The council recognized and congratulated the Montevallo Dance Crew, a dance group made up of Montevallo Elementary School 4th and 5th grade students.  

Nix listed the accomplishments of MDC including performing at halftime for the NBA G League team, The Birmingham Squadron, and performing at two UM basketball halftimes.  

Nix said following the performances, the MDC attended the Platinum Dance Competition in Montgomery, where they received the Judges Choice Award and an invitation to Platinum Ultimate Challenge in Chicago. 

MDC also attended the Inspired National Dance Competition in Montgomery, where they took first place in their division, earned the Crystal Diamond Adjudication High Score range and the Golden Egg Award—which Nix said was given, “only to a select few dances immediately following their routine if the judge felt inspired by the dance.” 

In his report to the council, Montevallo’s Director of Public Works, Kirk Hamby, said, “We celebrated a birthday today, I don’t know if anybody realized.”  

The birthday in question? Montevallo’s recycling center, which opened 11 years prior. 

The council’s next meeting will be May 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at City Hall and livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.  

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Wesley Walter is managing editor for The Alabamian. He is a junior English major and mass communications minor. Wesley boasts a 750 credit score, boyish good looks and soulful eyes that contain a deep indescribable sadness. In his free time, he enjoys travelling, visiting gas stations and thinking about getting into surfing.