Category: Birmingham City Council
After nearly two months of debate, an Ensley gas station where three homicides have taken place will remain open, the Birmingham City Council decided Tuesday.
Antonio Jerrell Taylor was fatally shot at the Shell at 800 Third Ave. W. on June 10. Taylor was the third person to be killed there since 2015, leading the council to consider revoking its business license.
Thirteen people have applied to fill the seat of former Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson, who announced his resignation last month. The lineup includes a former board of education president, a handful of candidates who previously ran for the District 7 seat, and a current member of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, among others. Read more.
The eight members of the Birmingham City Council spent much of Tuesday morning’s meeting focused on the daïs’ sole empty chair, stuck on the question of how to replace former President Pro Tempore Jay Roberson.
Roberson, who had represented District 7 on the council since 2009, announced his resignation last month, citing his wife’s new job with Alabaster City Schools. He officially left office Monday, meaning that Tuesday’s meeting was the first in which the remaining members of the council could vote on his replacement.
They didn’t, though. The deadline for applications to fill Roberson’s seat had been extended to Tuesday afternoon. Council President Valerie Abbott attempted unsuccessfully to hold a vote for Roberson’s replacement as president pro tem. Read more.
The City of Birmingham will apply to expand its foreign-trade subzone to include a property owned by BNSF Railway, a move proponents argued would extend the Mercedes-Benz brand within the city.
Foreign-trade subzones are areas within the United States in which a certain company’s commercial merchandise is not subject to import tariffs and taxes, which is intended to lower costs for companies engaged in international trade. BNSF Railway wants to add a 261-acre area near Finley Boulevard, which officials said could make the city more “business-friendly” to Mercedes-Benz, one of BNSF’s clients. Read more.
A little less of Birmingham will be accessible to the public in the wake of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, in which the council ceded two rights-of-way to private companies.
The council also voted to close portions of two downtown streets to make way for the construction of the BJCC’s new open-air stadium.
Of the two rights-of-way discussions, the first — which focused on a stretch of property on the corner of 13th Street South and First Avenue South, near Railroad Park — proved to be the more controversial. Read more.
Jay Roberson wasn’t present at Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting, but his recently announced resignation loomed over proceedings. A discussion over whether to reallocate funding for parks in his district led to a prolonged debate over how much spending power lame-duck councilors should have — with the only present outgoing councilor, District 1’s Lashunda Scales, expressing outrage that the discussion was even happening. Read more.
With this week’s resignation of President Pro Tem Jay Roberson, the Birmingham City Council faces the unusual task of appointing three new members by the end of the year.
Roberson’s resignation takes effect Sept. 10, while Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson will resign from the council Nov. 14 to take office as the Jefferson County Commission’s newest members, having been elected earlier this year.
The council’s seven remaining members will have to agree on three replacements for their outgoing colleagues. Historically, the appointment process has been a difficult one, and this year is unlikely to be an exception.
Among issues to be decided by the council are the precise process for selection and how much outgoing council members should have to say about who is selected as their replacements. Even how long the new councilors will serve is up in the air. Generally, appointees serve until the next city election, which in this case is 2021. But if a special city referendum being considered is called early next year, the appointees who want to continue on the council will be running in just a few months. Read more.
Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson announced his resignation from the council on Thursday, a decision that left many of his colleagues “shocked” and that will further shake up a council already facing significant membership changes.
During a press conference held at Lawson State Community College, Roberson confirmed that he would be stepping down as District 7’s councilor effective Sept.10.
Roberson said his wife has taken a new “dream job” with Alabaster City Schools, which will require his family to move.
“My wife’s wholehearted support allowed me to have this opportunity (as councilor),” he said in a press release. “Now is a time for me to support her professional aspirations and do what’s right for my family.” Read more.
Birmingham City Council delayed plans for rezoning the city’s West End community at Tuesday’s meeting, citing concerns that the city had not effectively communicated with residents.
Two West End residents — Oakwood Place Neighborhood Association Secretary Nell Allen and resident Samuel Mills — said the rezoning plan the council was being asked to vote on significantly differed from what city planners promised residents at recent neighborhood association meetings. Both Allen and Mills said that properties zoned as single-use residential were being rezoned despite protests from residents.
“We had a meeting, and it was told to us that the changes would be made before we came to the city council this morning,” Mills said. “We really don’t want this.” Read more.
Two small residential properties in Birmingham’s Druid Hills neighborhood took on much larger significance during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, as a chaotic debate over whether they should be rezoned to accommodate their owners’ legal practice ballooned into a discussion of the economic future of Birmingham’s black neighborhoods. Read more.