Officials will discuss the possible closure of either the 20th or 22nd Street railroad crossing at the public hearing. The exact date of the public hearing is not set, but the hearing is expected to start at 6:30 p.m., at the 19th Street Rec Hall, which is close to a community where residents objected to the closing of the 20th Street railway crossing.
Mayor Bill Hereford said at the council meeting if the 22nd Street crossing is closed, instead of the 20th Street crossing, residents could see more commercial truck traffic in their neighborhood.
Councilman Greg Gossett made the motion to hold the public hearing with a railroad official present at the meeting.
Council member Dot Wood seconded Gossett’s motion and it was unanimously approved.
Two years ago, Norfolk Southern officials said railroad companies were tasked to eliminate redundant crossings, saying the elimination of railroad crossings will help prevent train collisions that result in injury or death.
There are three railroad crossings in the same proximity along First Avenue South, the 19th, 20th and 22nd Street crossings.
City officials were negotiating with NS about the possible closure of the 20th Street South railroad crossing.
In exchange for the closure, NS will make an incentive payment to the city in the amount of $25,000 and a railroad official had said it’s possible the Alabama Department of Transportation would provide a match incentive up to $7,500.
But during a March 2010 public hearing, the plan was met with opposition by local residents.
Residents told the mayor and members of the council that the 20th Street crossing is frequently used by residents and emergency workers entering their community, and money should not influence their decision as to whether to support or not support the closure of the crossing.
Residents appeared to have supported the closure of the 22nd Street railroad crossing, instead of the 20th Street crossing.
Residents also said the 19th Street access to their neighborhood can tear up a vehicle, and city officials agreed with the residents at the time.
Gossett said last week no work was completed to fix the access along 19th Street for residents in that neighborhood.
In a Feb. 9, 2009, letter to the city, NS said it supports the Federal Railroad Administration’s goal of consolidating 25 percent of the nation’s public at grade crossings.
In other matters Monday night, the mayor and council:
• Authorized the mayor to enter into a settlement agreement with Doster Construction Company and the State of Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs where the city will settle a claim that will allow the city to collect two-thirds of the amount of sewer impact and water capital recovery fees. Doster Construction was provided wrong information about the amount of fees it would owe the city for the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home project and based its bid on the numbers provided by a city employee.
• Approved on premise retail beer license for the Golden Rule restaurant.
• Approved to rezoned 10.53 acres adjacent to the Chic-fil-A restaurant from R-A, residential agriculture district, to B-3, heavy business district. The property is located on Hazelwood Drive and is owned by the Vada Vaughan Estate.
• Approved to use the 2 mill tax fund for fire department expenditures.
• Approved an ordinance which will allow the city to start an educational/governmental cable channel through the Coosa Cable Company.
• Approved to allow the police department to participate in the COPS hiring program.
• Approved a central location to collect water, business licenses and building permits near the main entrance to city hall. Clerks will continue to court fines in the same location next to the police department.
• Approved an ordinance giving up property owned by the city next to the Eden Fire Department to adjacent property owners, Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC, for commercial purposes. Officials said the city is vacating a seven-foot wide encroachment but will benefit with new sales taxes from a new business locating on the property. Earlier this month the council adopted an ordinance giving up the property to Metro Bank, but Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC, actually owns the property.
• Approved a resolution amending the city’s municipal court sessions so that court sessions are conducted on the first, second, third, and fourth Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m., starting in March.
• Authorized the city attorney to move forward with collecting reimbursement from a former police officer for training and uniforms.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com