By Cady Inabinett, News editor
The Montevallo City Council hosted a public hearing about changing the designation of the former Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house in order to allow the current property owner to convert the house into apartments. The house is located in the city’s university special zoning district, which has prevented the property owner from obtaining permits to renovate inside the house.
David Bradford, the property owner from MORE Adventures Homes, LLC, spoke to the council about his plans for the house. Bradford said he had spoken to university president Dr. John Stewart about the need for student housing, saying, “They just need room. They need room for students.”
He went on to emphasize that, while the spaces are being called apartments, they emulate dorm-style living—calling it a privately offered dorm situation for students.
“Just to be clear, it says apartments, but this is true dorm living,” said Bradford. “There’s going to be a common space, a common kitchen and so forth.”
Bradford said minimal changes would be made inside of the house other than the addition of a few bathrooms.
“Just, we’re not going to have a beer pong table,” Bradford joked.
He added that there would be a total of nine rooms, each with its own bathroom.
Council member Martha Ann Eisenberg asked if parking would be sufficient at the location. Bradford responded, “We’re going to work with the university. I have assurances from Dr. Stewart that won’t be a problem.”
Later in the meeting, the council voted to unanimously approve the changes to the building’s designated use.
Montevallo citizen Dr. Michael Patton also addressed the council, raising concerns about the way commission and board appointments are handled.
Patton summarized his concerns, saying, “It seems that serving members aren’t being given the opportunity to renew their terms, that open position aren’t being publicized to look for volunteers and that appointments are being made by the mayor from a group of like-minded, familiar faces.”
He went on to highlight the importance of citizen involvement on city boards and commissions, saying that board and commission appointments often allow for people who would not typically run for public office to bring their expertise into city governance.
“We live in a unique town in which many people care deeply about how this place is, how it has been and how it will be,” said Patton.
He concluded, “With the current trend of nominations appearing on city council agendas without discussion, many of these laudable features of Montevallo governance stand to be lost.”
Patton did not provide any specific examples, and council members did not respond to Patton’s concerns.
The council approved plans for Montevallo Main Street to close a stretch of Island Street from North Boundary Street to Park Drive for the Spring Fling Food Truck Festival. The event and road closure will last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 23.
Council members also unanimously voted to look into installing RV hookups at Stephens Park. Members agreed the city should seek price quotes for installing four RV hookups, intended primarily for the use of softball and baseball tournament attendees. Renting out RV spaces could act as an income source for the city’s parks and recreation department according to the council. Members also suggested limiting RV stays to a maximum of three days.
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, April 25, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Citizens may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall.