Chambers Academy student receives $2,500 scholarship

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2022

At the LaFayette City Council’s meeting on Monday, Chambers Academy student John R. Ramirez was awarded a 2022 scholarship award from the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority.

“Each year, the City of LaFayette and AMEA get together each year, and we come together to form this scholarship of $2,500,” said LaFayette Mayor Kenneth Vines. 

Vines said he attended an awards ceremony at Chambers Academy and saw Ramirez win several awards. He called Ramirez “a very intelligent young man” and told him to come back to LaFayette after he got his degree.

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In other business at the meeting, City Attorney Joseph Tucker said the City of LaFayette didn’t owe a local resident her money back for paying to be on the city’s sewer system. At a previous meeting, Wright had complained to the city council that she had been charged for city sewage even though her house had a septic tank. She said she bought the house in 2016, unaware that the tank was there.

Tucker had said Wright’s property violated an ordinance that was passed in 1993. In 1993, every house was required to hook up to the sewer system if it was close enough.

At Monday’s meeting, Councilmember Toney Thomas asked how the city could charge someone for services they weren’t rendered.

Tucker said the ordinance was passed so the city could afford to pay bonds back for a sewage plant that had been built.

“It also says that if you violate that statute, then you’re responsible for the city’s losses for not being hooked up to the city sewer,” Tucker said. “So the city’s losses would be all the fees that she was supposed to have paid during the time he or she was in violation. So she was paying while she was in violation, so she essentially mitigated the city’s losses.”

In other business, Tucker brought up three issues from a Zoning & Planning Commission meeting on April 28 for the council to vote on.

The first item up for discussion was a rezoning request for a local store that was in a B1 neighborhood business district. Tucker said the business owner wanted the business to be moved into the B3 general business district, where liquor stores are allowed.

“This store is B1, whereas the hardware store and other stuff across the road are B3,” Tucker said. “I don’t know why that is. They are different zoning classifications.”

Tucker said the owner of the business wanted create a liquor store.

“The Planning Commission took a vote, and they denied his application,” Tucker said. “They did not recommend to the city council that that be changed. Now, that recommendation from the Planning Commission was supposed to have gotten here within 30 days of the planning commission meeting. It was not. So I believe this council is free to act on that particular matter as if the Planning Commission had approved it.”

Tucker explained that the council wasn’t being asked to vote on the ordinance change but was being asked to vote on whether to publish a newspaper ad about the potential change, have a public hearing on it and consider the change.

LaFayette Police Chief George Rampey said he believed the city had enough places for people to buy liquor.

The council didn’t vote on the issue.

Tucker said the next issue he had for the council to vote on would be an easier decision. Land developer Jack Holloway had purchased a large house on a hill across from Vines Funeral Home.

“And he has now torn that house down and is getting ready to develop it,” Tucker said.

The problem, Tucker said, was that some of the area was zoned for manufacturing.

“The line for the residential and the manufacturing runs on that street that the house lot butts on,” he said.

Tucker said Holloway wanted to create homes at the location. The Planning Commission recommended that the location be rezoned, Tucker said. He said the city council could vote to schedule a public hearing on the potential rezoning. He recommended that the public hearing be on the same day as the first city council meeting in July.

“It’s got to run for three weeks in the paper,” Tucker said.

The council voted to schedule the public hearing for Holloway’s property.

Tucker went over one last item.

“When Mayor [Barry] Moody was in office, the issue of political signs came up,” Tucker said. “There was a proposed ordinance that would change the allowable size of political signage to four by eight.”

Tucker said the Planning Commission made a recommendation that the ordinance be considered at a public hearing.

The council voted to have a public hearing on the ordinance on July 11.

In other business, in an interview, LaFayette Mayor Kenneth Vines said the process for choosing a new city councilmember to replace T. Shannon Hunter, who recently resigned, was going well. He said the council had a list of names of applicants that it would review by July 11. June 30 is the cutoff date to apply for the position, he said.