/Council tackles vice and Korean excavators   
Graphic by Laryssa Molina-Becerra, Graphic designer.

Council tackles vice and Korean excavators   

By Wesley Walter, Managing editor 

The Montevallo City Council, during their Feb. 26 meeting, discussed an ordinance that would make changes to the approval process for certain downtown business licenses. 

Prospective businesses to be affected by the ordinance include tattoo parlors, payday or title loan businesses, check cashing businesses, pawn shops, gold and silver brokers, vape and tobacco shops, package and liquor stores, CBD stores and regulated massage parlors. 

Reading from the ordinance, City Clerk Steve Gilbert said these types of businesses, “may adversely impact the city’s development and effectively limit the ability of the city to attract diverse types of businesses.” 

Gilbert said the ordinance would, “set up a review process in which those applications would be subject to council approval before being granted a business license within the urban core and also grandfathers any business of that type to its existing physical location.” 

Council member David King asked Gilbert if the ordinance outlined any requirements that would need to be met in the review process or if prospective business owners simply had to submit their application to the council.  

Gilbert responded, reading from the ordinance, that requirements will include, but are not limited to, “responsibility by the city for the protection of public health, morals and welfare, protection of existing properties including property use, value and historic district designation, traffic and pedestrian safety, consistency, compatibility and conformity with the City of Montevallo Comprehensive Plan.” 

The council voted to pass the ordinance. King who owns Goliath Lending, a pawn shop at 610 Valley St., abstained from the vote.  

Following their discussion of the ordinance, the council reviewed a request for $57,295 from the city sanitation account to purchase a Bobcat E40-R2 Excavator to be used by the Montevallo Public Works Department.  

Council member Martha Ann Eisenberg expressed disapproval for the choice of excavator saying, “You do know that Bobcat has been bought by another country—another country—and that, in order to get parts, they come from South Korea. So, I do not think Bobcat is the best thing for us at this time. I think you should consider something that’s being made in America, that you can get parts in North Carolina.” 

Eisenberg said she would prefer an excavator made by Caterpillar or Thompson.  

Head of Public Works Kirk Hamby replied the model was priced lower than a Caterpillar 235 Series Excavator, which was also considered. Hamby also said public works employees were familiar with Bobcat brand machines, and the excavator was light enough to be towed by a trailer already owned by the city. 

Eisenberg showed further disapproval for the choice saying, “The model you’re talking about just came on the market in October. It has not been truly tested.” 

In response to Eisenberg’s comments Hamby remarked, “I thought I did my homework. I should get a B,” but continued to be in support of purchasing the proposed excavator. 

The motion to grant the funds passed 5-1, with Eisenberg opposed.  

The council then discussed a motion seeking to place a moratorium on building auxiliary structures on certain residentially zoned lots.  

Montevallo Mayor Rusty Nix said these structures included, but were not limited to, garages, car ports and storage buildings. 

Regarding the structures the moratorium would seek to prevent, Eisenberg asked, “Buildings that have been built too large and not properly inspected or anything, can we not ask them to be torn down?” 

“That would have to go before our code enforcement and our enforcement people” King said, telling Eisenberg, “I understand that there’s some people that are concerned about a specific structure and I know that that is under review currently.” 

Eisenberg then questioned Gilbert about a specific auxiliary structure in town asking, “What about the other structure that I said something to you about near the viaduct?” 

Gilbert responded, “At the time that was issued, there was really nothing that was out of character at that point. Now I know the style of the building rubs some people the wrong way, but I mean as far as size and where it’s located it’s within the ordinances. I mean that’s—I don’t know what else to tell you councilwoman. I mean, it conforms.”  

Council member Kenneth Dukes expressed apprehension regarding the motion, saying, “I would be hesitant for one reason: we’re a city that wants growth. We’re a city that wants people to come in and build homes and have that.”  

“If were gonna do a moratorium, I think that we ought to put a time limit on it and have it done within a specific amount of time, so that we don’t limit people, and the growth that’s gonna happen—that’s happening in Montevallo right now,” Dukes said.  

Council member Sonya Swords told Dukes that the moratorium would only be in effect for six months if passed.   

King also said the Planning and Zoning Commission are working to write permanent ordinances for the council’s vote that would explicitly govern the size and nature of auxiliary structures allowed in these residential zones.  

“I’m under the understanding that this moratorium is just a temporary freeze until such time as the Planning and Zoning Commission can present this council with their recommendations,” King said.  

The motion to create a moratorium was passed by the council unanimously.   

Following Montevallo Chief of Police Jeremy Littleton’s report to the council, council member Leila Mitchel asked Littleton if there are cameras at George Dailey Park, saying, “I had a complaint from yesterday that they had men out there—grown men gambling at the gate or the entrance of the park.”  

Littleton said the park does have cameras and the tape from the previous day would be reviewed.  

The next city council meeting will be held Monday, March 11, 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.