/Letter to the editor: on Ebenezer Swamp
Graphic by Bell Jackson

Letter to the editor: on Ebenezer Swamp

To the Editor, 

On Oct. 24 I attended a public hearing at Alabaster City Council for the re-zoning of the proposed Bruno Trust Development set to be constructed near Ebenezer Swamp. At the hearing were various other UM students and faculty. We had all come with one goal in mind. We sought to convince the Alabaster City Council to vote against re-zoning the proposed commercial development. The hearing began with Ordinance 22-163, the Bruno Trust Ordinance, and the floor was opened to public comments for individuals supporting the development. The man to stand up and speak was the developer of Bruno Trust, Mr. Woodham. He spoke of the development highly and referred to it as something for the Alabaster residents to be proud of. He was the only supporting commenter that night. 

Once the floor was opened to opposing comments, various people stood and gave their moving testimonies against the development. The first of which being Dr. Mike Hardig, a former Biology professor at UM. He spoke of the scientific concerns surrounding this development, like the dangerous increase of impervious surfaces that could prevent our aquifer from recharging with rainwater and the lack of proper stormwater drainage. Following Dr. Hardig, was Jessica Snow an Alabaster resident who has tirelessly opposed these developments. She brought up notable points surrounding the uselessness of having another commercial development as well as the concerns other residents should have about their taxes and potential increases. 

For the next hour, different people with different perspectives stood and presented their opinions and ideas surrounding this development. The overwhelming consensus was not to prevent future development for Alabaster but to slow down. This proposal came out of nowhere and has left no opportunity for community discussion. Largely, that is all the citizens of Alabaster are asking for. They want a seat at the table especially since these developments will directly impact their livelihoods. Even from an environmental standpoint, as Dr. Susan Caplow expressed in her comments, this needs to be a deliberative process that considers the various needs of the people. There are environmentally responsible ways to go about the developments. All that we are asking now, is to do this responsibly. 

Following the last comments, the city council motioned to vote for the re-zoning of the development which would allow for restaurants and shops to be included in the proposed plans. 

Even after the hour of opposing comments, the council unanimously voted for this re-zoning. The room booed, many gathered their belongings and left in the middle of the hearing. I left the building and sat in my car for two hours in sheer anger and frustration. I study political science. I advocate for democracy and for people to have a voice. Never have I felt so openly ignored. The very people elected into office by Alabaster residents listened to an hour’s worth of opposing comments and completely ignored them. It truly felt like our voices didn’t matter. And to me, that is a failure in our democratic system. Alabaster residents have been given no opportunity to express their opinions until now; the very opinions that are meant to lead the discussions we have in this community. The Alabaster City Council has largely disappointed its constituents. So now we will fight harder than ever to have our voices heard. 


Lauren Tidwell 

E-Club President

Lauren Tidwell
+ posts