Category Archives: City Council

A chat with City Council President Virginia Smith

By ANNE WOOD

City Council President Virginia SmithWhat are your plans for the city of Mountain Brook?
I have no specific plans of my own. We all set the tone together with the mayor and council, and we listen closely to our professional staff, Sam and Steve for starters, and the chiefs/directors of our departments as well as listening closely to our various boards/chambers and their members. So our “plans” therefore usually evolve out of what we hear is needed.  For example, the Village Design and Review Committee wants to make some changes to the sign ordinance, and I have heard their concerns and encouraged them to make suggested changes and that I would assist in getting the council to pass them.

But plans:  well, let us see.  I want to keep the city being a great place to live and work.  I like adding green spaces where we can. We have a good relationship with our neighboring cities, and I want that to continue, even when we disagree over an issue.  I do not want an elevated 280. I do want to see good redevelopment of the Trinity site.  I want to encourage new business and commerce within our villages. Continue reading

Poet writes about everyday inspiration in new memoir

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

Finley Bullard Evans with twins Max and Harry in their backyard. Photo by Madoline Markham.

Finley Bullard Evans is the kind of person who is still fascinated by old-fashioned letters and the economy of a page, who turns to books of artwork and poetry for inspiration. She’s a poet who loves to discuss ideas. But even more importantly, she is a mother who delights in making the ordinary extraordinary—and that is just as much part of her writing as anything.

Evans has recently published a memoir, Two of ‘Em in There, about her pregnancy with twins Max and Harry and their first year.

“The sequence of events called for me to write it,” she said. “That first year was magical in a lot of ways. (My husband and I) couldn’t let it go by without talking about it—for us and for the boys.”

Evans’ writing is honest and laced with her dry wit, chronicling how she reoriented her life around her sons, who are now third graders at Brookwood Forest Elementary. Her casual voice makes you feel as if you are sitting around a living room with friends listening to her stories, hearing about the craziness of renovating a house and preparing to bring not one but two babies into the world. Continue reading

Pleasant Grove restoration efforts include brick sale and more

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

Representatives from Mountain Brook and Pleasant Grove at the July 14 meeting. Back Row: Pleasant Grove council members Philip Houston and James (Pete) Mosley, Pleasant Grove Mayor Jerry Brasseale, Mayor Terry Oden, First Baptist Church Pastor Daven Watkins, Pleasant Grove council member William (Skeeter) Bullion, Pleasant Grove. City Clerk Karen Duncan. Front Row: Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce Project Manager Hannon Davidson, Pleasant Grove council members Paula Johnson and Terrie Hicks, Jefferson County Board of Education President Jennifer Parsons, Executive Director of Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce Suzan Doidge. Photo courtesy of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce.

On July 14, representatives from the city of Mountain Brook met with Pleasant Grove Mayor Jerry Brasseale and other representatives from Pleasant Grove to determine how the cities can unite to aid Pleasant Grove in long-term restoration efforts in the wake of the April 27 tornado.

“Pleasant Grove was very receptive,” Mayor Terry Oden said. “Our main mission was to see what they needed and not just do something to do something.”

For now, the city will be raising money to help with Pleasant Grove’s long-term needs. “I hope that when we start the process that the people in Mountain Brook will be generous,” Oden said. Continue reading

July 25 City Council Meeting

Liberty Tree Memorial. Mountain Brook has accepted an elm from the Liberty Tree Society to be placed on Vine Street near the Board of Education.

English Village Parking Lots. Police Chief Ted Cook recommends that the lower parking lot change to 24-hour, all day parking. The idea will be considered until the lease is renewed in September.

Retirement Window. The City is considering a retirement window from October 1, 2011 to May 1, 2012 for employees in City service to retire with medical benefits if they have served for 20 years or 10 years and are over age 60.

A sketch of the plan for the new municipal complex. Photo courtesy of Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce.

Municipal Complex Updates. The complex currently stands at $210,000 over budget. Although the City would prefer to install a slate roof to the structure, it would cost the City an additional $250,000. Brasfield & Gorrie plan to meet with members of the council to discuss alternate options including a synthetic slate.

Sprinkler Ordinance Update. The ordinance that took effect on January 1 of this year required all new-construction homes to include automatic fire sprinkler systems, but the price that was presented when the Council adopted this ordinance and what it actually costs has risen dramatically. For now, there is a 30 day moratorium on the ordinance and the possibility to repeal the ordinance will be discussed next month.

Board of Zoning Adjustment. Carol Johnson was appointed as a supernumerary member of the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

Village Design Review Committee. Bob Walker was nominated for this position, but because he was unable to be there, the nomination was carried over until the next meeting.

Stop Sign on Country Club Blvd. According to the recommendation of the lieutenant, a stop sign will replace the yield sign on Country Club Blvd. where it meets Fairway Drive.

Next Meeting. The next meeting of the Mountain Brook City Council will be on Monday, August 8 at the temporary City Hall, 3928 Montclair Road, Suite 232.

July 11 City Council Meeting

By MIA BASS

Board of Equalization nomination. Robert Thomason was nominated to the Board of Equalization for the city of Mountain Brook.

Internet sale for excess Park Board equipment. Internet auctions will be used to sell the following items: two Grounds Master Toro Mowers, five Stihl weed eaters, three Redmax weed eaters, one Bush Hog, various computer monitors, printers and processors, three 19” HP flat screen monitors and one 19” CTX flat screen monitor.

Mountain Brook repays Irondale. After the April 27 tornadoes, Irondale sent one truck and one worker for two weeks to assist Mountain Brook in debris cleanup. The Council agreed to pay back Irondale (the estimate between $8,000 and $10,000) for their assistance. Mountain Brook hopes FEMA will reimburse the City for this expense.

RBC Bank to be built in former Leaf & Petal. The Council approved a conditional use for RBC to take down the existing Leaf & Petal building in Mountain Brook Village and rebuild. The proposed new building will be less square footage than Leaf & Petal and there will be 6 on-site parking spaces in addition to 9 on the road. Leaf & Petal will keep its location at the Summit and at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

June 27 City Council Meeting

The Council’s pre-meeting began at 5:45 p.m. on June 27. Chief Ted Cook received concerns about traffic confusion Country Club Boulevard at Fairway Drive. After consideration with the Council, the yield sign on Country Club Boulevard will be replaced with a stop sign and a stop sign will be added on Fairway Drive.

James Cooper of Mountain Brook High School and Leadership Mountain Brook presented changes in the brick sales agreement in Spartan Square. Each engraved brick will honor, recognize or name at least one person who has lived in the City of Mountain Brook since the City’s incorporation in 1942. Up to 2,000 bricks can be sold for $75 per brick.

The issue of the English Village Parking Lots lease renewals has been pushed until the next meeting. The lease on both $2 lots will be up on September 30. The Council is considering making the parking lots free 24-hour spaces intended for employees as well as the public. The police and parking committee are scheduled to meet and discuss this issue.

Montevallo Road Bridge Construction

Montevallo Road Bridge Construction

The Montevallo Road Bridge Project will have guard rails and fencing going up on June 28. The Council approved the change orders and the project is near completion. September 1 is the absolute last day of work on the project. Continue reading

June 13 Mountain Brook City Council Meeting

In the pre-meeting starting at 5:30 p.m., Barry Copeland with the Birmingham Business Alliance gave a presentation and requested Mountain Brook’s participation in the Blueprint Birmingham Initiative, a growth strategy for the seven-county region. The council committed $5000 to the cause this year.

The executive director of The Literacy Council, Beth Wilder, explained the various budget cuts for the program across the state. This year, the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County have no funding to give to the Council. Wilder explained that there were many functionally illiterate people in central Alabama and this program works to match them with tutors so they will be able to help their children in school. The Council explained that they need to see evidence of prior contracts the program has had with other councils, but agreed to consider it in the summer budget overview.

The Liberty Tree Society approached the City of Mountain Brook and offered a Liberty Tree Memorial. The tree must be placed in a prominent location in the community and must have a ceremony to mark its planting. It will be free to the City, but the Council decided to look at specific locations and the details of the plaque offered with the tree before discussing it at the next meeting. Continue reading