Auburn City Council approves fire station bid

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By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

Auburn City Council approved the contract for the new Auburn Fire Station during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

The contract with W.W. Compton Contractor, LLC was approved for over $3.1 million for the Fire Station 6 Project.

The new fire station will include living quarters, an apparatus bay, parking and driveways, according to the city of Auburn e-packet.

W.W. Compton Contractor, LLC was the lowest bidder, and the amount will include cost of labor, equipment and other materials.

The contract was passed without discussion.

City Street Project:

The council approved the condemnation of Orange-Auburn III, LLC and Orange-Auburn LLC Tuesday night.

The condemnation was a part of Project No. STPOA-4116, which includes work on South College Street, Samford Avenue, Gay Street and Reese Avenue. This project will include resurfacing, widening, traffic signals and drainage improvements.

“In order for construction of the above-mentioned project to begin, we need to acquire 19 tracts of property,” the city’s e-packet said. “To date, we have acquired 13 tracts of the required property. This project is partially funded by State/Federal funds. On projects where State/Federal funds are being utilized, the right of way acquisition process is required to follow the Federal Uniform Act. This is overseen by the Federal Highway Administration.”

Assistant City Manager Megan Crouch said that the city always asks for donation of property but often needs to compensate through city or federal funds.

City officials, the appraiser Mike Thompson and Jason Price, owner of Orange-Auburn, III, LLC, met several times to work out a price for the property.

“The final offer was for $155,000 for 0.04 acres of right of way, $2,900 for improvements, and $62,600 for 0.06 acres of a temporary construction easement totaling $220,500,” the city’s e-packet said.

Price did not agree to terms, so the city voted for condemnation.

“The condemnation is just basically saying, this project is going to move forward and then the next avenue of relief that the property owner has is to go to the court and to petition the court to get more money,” Buston said. “The property owner cannot petition the court to stop the project but they can petition the court to get what they believe to be fairly compensated for the property.”

Council Member Bob Parsons, Ward 5, asked Buston whether the property owner often receives more money in a decision from the court.

Buston said that the court normally upholds the amount the city offers to the property owner.

The council’s next approved item of business was also related to the street widening and resurfacing project.

The council approved a permanent easement and temporary construction easement for over $18,000 to Tucker Brantley Brown for his property at 341 and 351 South Gay St.

Traffic Signals:

The council approved a contract with Sain Associates, Inc. for signal performances measures for over $123,000.

“The services include managing the City’s existing TACTICS and GLANCE/AI central systems via Temple Managed Services (TMS), monitoring SPM data and retiming four traffic signals on Opelika Road and deploying additional equipment, initial SPM setup plus one year of access to SPM data, monitoring SPM data and the retiming of three traffic signals on Glenn Avenue, three traffic signals on Gay Street and two traffic signals on Samford Avenue,” the city’s e-packet said.

Although the contact was approved, council member Kelley Griswold, Ward 2, pulled the item for discussion and expressed concern that neither East University Drive nor Cary Drive was included in the study.

“My first question is, when do we anticipate authorization number three to come before the council, which will cover the five uncoordinated signals on East University and Shug,” he said. 

City Manager Jim Buston said that what the council approved was only the first part, and it was also a sort of trial.

Buston said there is no certain date for work authorization 3, which is already budgeted, because this is a test run of the program.

Pre-Zoning, Zoning and Annexation:

The council approved the pre-zone, zoning and annexation on 24.3 acres of rural land during Tuesday night’s meeting. Each was voted on separately.

The property, the Silos at Conway, is located east of the city of Auburn Soccer Complex on Wire Road.

The council fist approved that the 24.03 previously rural acres be rezoned to Limited Development District. The council then approved that the property be annexed.

Finally, the council approved that 50.29 acres, The Silos at Conway, be applied to the Planned Development District designation and rezoned as PPD Overlay.

There were two community members who were against the decisions made.

“It’s important to recognize that the decisions made tonight on this issue will have long-lasting implications on the residents living in the neighborhoods along wire road,” said one community member, David Ennis.

Ennis asked the council to deny the pre-zoning application and later asked the council to deny the zoning and annexation.

“I have some concerns about the traffic issues that are going to arise from this intense development proposed and particular with the Cox Road now being a major access to the city,” said another resident, Clint Lothrop Jr.

Other Business:

The council approved a contract with The Lee County Humane Society for animal sheltering services for over $209,000.

The council approved a contract with Suncoast Infrastructure, Inc. for the Southside Sewer Basins 6 and 16 Rehabilitation Project for over $426,000.

The council approved a contract with Hoar Program Management, LLC for the Environmental Services and Public Works Relocation Project for over $399,000.

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