After holding a public hearing and hearing both sides, the Scottsboro City Council voted unanimously by roll call vote to approve the rezoning of a parcel of property on Phillips Drive at the last work session and regular meeting held on Monday, January 9, 2023. The property, currently zoned as R1, is now zoned as R3, allowing for smaller units to be built on the property, along with altering the setbacks to allow less frontage. Some residents close to the property protested on the rezoning, expressing their fears there were too many units proposed. Others stated they did not approve of the R3 zoning as it may allow for undesirable establishments to be put up in the instance that D.R. Horton, the proposed contractor, backed out of the deal. Some 104 houses are believed to be going onto the land. This proposed influx of houses comes in the middle of an affordable and available housing crisis for Scottsboro, and most residents of Scottsboro and surrounding areas view it as a boon, with so many searching in vain for somewhere to live.
Jack Lovelady with First Southern State Bank discussed a request for the city to vacate an alley allowing five feet for the drive-thru lane that will be going into a new FSSB lot. Lovelady stated the engineers believe the establishment will face Laurel Street, and the alley behind the post office will allow for the proper space if that is the case. This will be brought before Council again once Lovelady has more information to provide Council members and the city’s legal representation.
Josh Sherlin of Jackson County Life Resource Services was present to discuss the proposed ordinance related to sleeping in parked vehicles, tents or makeshift camps on the private property of another or on public property.
Sherlin stated, “I’m here to advocate for the less fortunate,” and followed this up with requesting some council members, pertinent city officials and law enforcement allow for a sit-down meeting to come up with the best way to serve the unfortunate while protecting the city’s citizens and property. Sherlin stated that homelessness is actually a big problem in Scottsboro; a problem that is only becoming more prevalent with the city’s growth and the growth of the surrounding cities. He stated that the best thing for all involved, since this ordinance is so new, is to evaluate all the needs from both sides while ensuring there are still options for those unfortunate enough to be without a residence to call their own.
“Single moms used to be able to make it, but with the way things are, they can’t anymore. There is a surprising amount of people one paycheck away from homelessness.”
After the meeting, during delegations, another advocate, Terry MacDonald | Nourish One Child, was present to reiterate what Sherlin had to say. MacDonald is also married to Kathleen MacDonald, who is also an employee at Life Resource Services of Jackson County.
Council members agreed to allow for a meeting.
In 2022, a new E911 program was proposed for all first responders and law enforcement officers in Scottsboro and Jackson County. Scottsboro Police Chief Ron Latimer presented a budget amendment for $141,298 going to SPD to allow for a records management software contract and purchase proposal. Latimer stated the new computer-aided system will change everything and will link up first responders, law enforcement officers, responding dispatchers and their respective departments and will entail training as well. He also said that $70,699 would be due this year and the other half would be due next year in 2024. The cost includes the purchase of the new system, implementation, training and data conversion. This was moved to the January 23rd work session and regular meeting.
City Engineer Josh Little presented a proposal from Sain Associates for engineering services that evaluated intersection improvements at Micah Way and Highway 35. The proposal comes in at $51,750. This was moved to the next meeting where it was approved.
Recreation Director Donny Wood presented a request to have the two pool heaters at the Rec-Com replaced. According to Wood, during the extreme cold weather Scottsboro had, the two heaters froze up and now are beyond repair. Council later approved his request.
Jim Olyniec was present to request a couple items. Due to improper advertising, as another week of advertising was needed, previous bids for the pickleball courts were rescinded and rejected. Council members then approved and awarded the bid to Lower Brothers at a cost of $151,810.
Michael Hodges presented a proposal to construct Alex Garcia Street to Highway 72, opening up the end of Sarah Betty Lane behind KFC, allowing for better traffic flow now and certainly when more development in that area takes place in the near future. Council members requested a cost estimate and more information.
A dozer rental for $60,000 was approved for the Solid Waste Department as one of their current dozers, crucial for the maintenance of one of the landfill cells, has been overheating.
The next work session and regular meeting for January will take place on Monday, January 23rd.
by Martha Smith