Council holds public hearing, considers new ordinance

A public hearing was held at the last work session and regular meeting held by the Scottsboro City Council on Monday, December 12, 2022. The hearing concerned some acres of land off of Phillips Drive in Scottsboro that, pending Council’s approval, will be rezoned from an R1 to and R3. The seller of the property, a Ms. Tipton was a supporter of the rezoning, stating it would allow more homes to be put on the property with less road frontage. Other supporters were two local real estate agents, who spoke about the dire need for housing in Scottsboro.

Ralph Ayers spoke on behalf of the other nearby residents who were there to oppose the rezoning. Ayers spoke about traffic safety, the width of the road in front of where the property sits, the resulting property taxes going toward the city and the possibilities of what can be placed on the property if it is zoned to R3. Ayers stated it would allow pretty much anything to be put in right next to R1 zoned properties.

Also in opposition was Will Shelton, the adjacent property owner to the property in question. Ayers stated he is not against progress, but requested the number of homes be reduced from 104 to 80.

“You’re our voice,” Shelton addressed to Council. “A lot of times, when candidates run for office, one of the things they say is, ‘I want to be the citizens’ voice. The voice of the people.’ Well, I’m asking you to be my voice. You represent us, the citizens who are directly impacted by this.”

This item has already been before the Zoning Commission where it was approved to move forward to Council. Community leaders have been meeting for almost two years to figure out a way to make the zoning codes and ordinances more builder-friendly for new construction, businesses, residences and contractors. Scottsboro, like most of the nation, has been hit with a housing crisis, leaving many with steep rents to pay amid inflation and nowhere else to go.

This was moved to the January 9th meeting, where it will undergo a vote by Council.

The 2023 city employee holiday scheduled was also presented as follows: Martin Luther King Day/January 16; Good Friday/April 7; Memorial Day/May 29; Juneteenth Day/June 19; Independence Day/July 4; Labor Day/September 4; Veterans Day/November 10; Thanksgiving/November 23 and 24; Christmas/December 25 and 26; New Years Eve/January 1; New Years Day/January 2. This was moved to the following regular meeting where it was approved.

This led into the next item for discussion, which was to discuss an ordinance related to sleeping in parked vehicles, tents or makeshift camps on the private property/lot of another or on public property. Councilmember Ralph Dawe presented the item, stating, “We’ve been having some concerns, some complaints. The police, on a daily basis, receive complaints about people camping in certain places.”

Dawe stated he was presenting an ordinance modeled after one in place in Huntsville to address this issue.

“The concerns I have are of potential criminal activity, sanitation and the overall appearance for visitors and our residents of Scottsboro. Most of all, safety for our citizens.”
To allow the council members more time to individually go over the ordinance and possible solutions, this was also moved to the January 9th work session and meeting.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, contact the Life Resource Services of Jackson County at 256.437.6606; email at liferesourceservices@gmail.com and access their website at //liferesourceservices.com/. They can also be found on Facebook.

Of the proposed ordinance, Life Resource Services Board President and founder Joshua Sherlin stated he has spoken with Mayor Jim McCamy and some Council members about forming a committee comprised of some council members, the Mayor, mental health, EMA, Scottsboro Police Department and Life Resource Services to come up with a solution and reword parts of the ordinance.

“With growth comes numbers, and with numbers come homeless. It’s not the city’s responsibility to care for them, but I do feel it is their responsibility to partner up with organizations like ours and come up with a solution.”

Sherlin stated he will be attending the January 9th meeting to plead his case on this topic and respectfully request consideration and a solution.

Kathleen MacDonald of Life Resource Services stated, “Our current services for homeless and at-risk individuals provide for laundry and shower facilities. We also provide resources such as hand warmers, blankets, jackets, hats and gloves. We will begin the warming center starting January 3, 2023. This will be in our current location and will provide a warm place for individuals to spend the daytime hours. There are also services that will assist clients in job search during their time at the center.”

MacDonald continued, “The night program provides beds, sheets, blankets, as well as meals. This is offered through different churches within the community. We are currently still in need of churches to participate in the program, as well as volunteers to stay with clients overnight.”

Life Resource Services of Jackson County can be located at 304 South Andrews Street in Scottsboro.

by Martha Smith

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