The Alexander City City Council was expected to cast a vote on a permanent moratorium of certain types of new businesses in the downtown area Monday night. But it chose to delay the decision.
“The council would like to postpone the public hearing and table the ordinance,” council president Tim Funderburk said. “The council would like to hear more from the chamber and others about it.”
The Alexander City City Council placed a temporary moratorium forbidding vape or tobacco shops; pay-day loans businesses; advance car title loan businesses; check cashing or cash-and-go businesses; liquor or beer package stores; pawn shops, tattoo parlors and arcades 18 months ago to allow Main Street Alexander City and the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce to study the issue and bring back a proposal to the council. The proposal came out Friday with the council agenda expanding the area of the moratorium to include thoroughfares such as Cherokee Road and Washington Street.
The ordinance as presented would have allowed current businesses to stay in place. Faelan Wilson owns Excelsior Ink Custom Tattoos LLC on Madison Street. Wilson’s tattoo shop is in the proposed moratorium district and he is deeply concerned about the wording of the ordinance.
“What happens if my landlord decides to increase my rent more than $1,000 a month?” Wilson said after the meeting. “The way I interpret it is I would either have to pay it or move from downtown.”
The scenario would be the same for any of the businesses operating under grandfather status.
City officials said if the case came up, the business could go to the planning commission and ask for a variance. But members of the city council would like to see another process if ordinance comes up for a vote. Councilmember Buffy Colvin didn’t say whether or not she supported the moratorium after the meeting. But Colvin was concerned about how it would affect businesses in the proposed district whose business type would be banned like Wilson.
“We have to make sure to take care of those issues in this,” Colvin said.
Councilmember Bobby Tapley agreed.
“It is something we will have to look at,” Tapley said.
Teresa Moten was concerned certain business types were not addressed in the moratorium — bars and clubs.
“If they are talking about banning businesses like that, why not include saloons?” Moten asked after the meeting.
Funderburk did not say when the moratorium on certain types of businesses will come before the council again. The motion approved by the council postponed the public hearing meaning a date for it will have to be set again by the council.