Service road to be taken up for development

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 2/9/18

The Jasper City Council heard that plans are in the works to take up the service road at the old Ryan’s to help a business development — which is fine with city officials, who are constrained by the state on what it can do on service roads.

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Service road to be taken up for development

Posted

The Jasper City Council heard that plans are in the works to take up the service road at the old Ryan’s to help a business development — which is fine with city officials, who are constrained by the state on what it can do on service roads.

At its work session last week, City Public Works Director Joe Matthews talked about a request from a developer — Cahaba Capital Group in Birmingham — to take out the service road in front of the old Ryan’s to help with plans for a 6,000-square-foot strip shopping center between Ryan’s and the old Franklin Motors property, due to specifications from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

“They want to take it up and they want to go straight in at that drive at Ryan’s,” Matthews said, saying one would drive in similar to what is found at Full Moon BBQ, putting all traffic on private property. That is good for the city, as cities bear the cost of anything involving service roads — but they also have to get permission from ALDOT to do the work, giving the city no control as it is state rights-of-way.

Matthews said he is giving a heads-up, as the developer will ask the council to take up the service road, which city officials have indicated will happen. The developer has indicated he has letters of intent from businesses that would go into the facility.

In other action at the meeting, the council: 

•talked about procedures and schedules for picking a new municipal judge, with qualifications decided on first and then providing a notice of the opening in March.

O’Mary, after discussing the matter earlier with City Clerk Kathy Chambless, suggested that qualifications would include being licensed to practice law in Alabama and having a law practice in Jasper, and then drawing up a scorecard for actual interviews.

He also said the council could also come up with some qualifications if they want to.

O’Mary indicated salary and benefit packages could be discussed at an upcoming meeting. He noted the person would not be appointed until December, but identifying the next judge early, even without putting that person on the payroll, would allow him to be involved in discussions on upcoming decisions.

•heard a bill on Sunday liquor sales has started running in the Daily Mountain Eagle and that state Rep. Connie Rowe, R-Jasper, who was formerly the city’s police chief, will introduce the bill. O’Mary said the referendum on the changes would not be placed on an existing election but would have a separate date when it is held. The council will decide the date of the referendum.

•heard from O’Mary that District Attorney Bill Adair has requested the city give $10,000 to the Walker County Children’s Advocacy Center, the same amount as the city gave to the entity in 2014. However, O’Mary said he “has questions” on whether the city can afford the donation. O’Mary said he wants to talk first to Chambless, who did not attend the meeting.

“I’m convinced we’re going to have another reasonably good year in operating this city, but we have to be cautious until we get further out in the year to see how we are doing,” he said, delaying discussion until the next work session.

Cowen said it is not a bad thing but a donation like that might even have to wait until the summer and depend on discretionary funds.