Auburn Council Amends Code On Business Revocations

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BY HANNAH LESTER 

HLESTER@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM 

AUBURN — 

The Auburn City Council, following more than three months of discussion, voted on an amendment to the Auburn City Code, Chapter 12, for a procedure on revocation of business licenses. 

This was first postponed in October 2022 and again on Dec. 6, 2022. 

Auburn City Manager Megan Crouch gave a presentation in December on why the change is being discussed, what it would look like, how the process would work, etc. 

“Certainly what we’re trying to do here is a proposal to put all of the authority for the final enforcement actions in the elected governing body’s hands, which is you, the nine-elected member body by the citizens of Auburn,” Crouch said.

On Tuesday night, however, Ward 4 Council Member Tyler Adams proposed an amendment to the amendment. 

Before the amendment, the original proposal meant the council would be in charge of revoking business licenses — if necessary — at the final stage, rather than a judge. 

There was some public concern on the process. 

“Businesses, along with our citizens, are the lifeblood of our community and there would never  be an attempt by the city staff — never — to harm business in any way, shape or form,” Crouch said in December. “Sometimes our goals are different, sometimes we need to do things and one of the No. 1 things we’re trying to do here is be sure that we’re being equitable in the treatment of all businesses.”

Auburn Chamber President and CEO Anna Hovey sent out a notice on Friday, Jan. 13, about the proposed amendment. 

“Following the Auburn City Council Meeting on Dec. 20, I had the opportunity to speak with city council members, Mayor Anders and City Manager Crouch and heard from Chamber members who also shared concerns regarding the proposed ordinance,” Hovey said in the email. “I am pleased to learn that one of the council members intends to present an amendment to the proposed ordinance for the purpose of limiting the broadness of the possible reasons to revoke a business license and it will address the specific issue of businesses that do not remit taxes. 

“While I have not yet reviewed a copy of the amendment, I wanted to send this as an update to my previous communication regarding the ordinance. I hope you will make plans to attend or tune in to the Council Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. We remain committed to providing resources to you to help support you and I appreciate you belonging to the Auburn Chamber! We are excited for a great year ahead!”

For the original proposal information, please read here: www.opelikaobserver.com/auburn-discusses-business-license-revocations/. 

Adams’s amendment removed several sections of 12.6 which addressed shutting down businesses if they were a threat or danger, a concern of citizens. 

“I wanted to pare this down so that the revocation only addressed the non-payment of taxes, or license or fees,” he said. 

Additionally, the proposal added a new section that said, “Upon revocation of a license or the privilege to obtain or renew a license, the taxpayer or applicant may seek judicial review in accordance with state law.”

In his amendment, he also added that hearings wouldn’t occur until at least 60 days following the notice. 

Adams was praised by other council members for his effort on the amendment to the amendment. 

“I want to say what a great job the staff and Council Person Adams did with this amendment,” said Ward 8 Council Member Tommy Dawson. “It’s very impressive.”

OTHER BUSINESS: 

– The council approved a restaurant retail liquor ABC license for 167 K BBQ Inc. d/b/a 167 Korean BBQ at 1660 S. College St. 

– The council approved a restaurant beer and retail table wine ABC license for Auburn Self Pour LLC d/b/a The Plains Taproom at 200 W. Glenn Ave., Suite 200. 

– The council approved a restaurant retail liquor ABC license for the Frosty Tiger LLC d/b/a The Saloon at 138 N. College St. 

– The council approved a retail table wine (off-premise only) ABC license for Trinity Rose Creations LLC d/b/a Auburn Flowers and Gifts at 1345 Opelika Road, Suite G. 

– The council approved a retail beer and retail table wine ABC license for YC Group, Inc d/b/a Shake Seafood and Bubble Tea at 815 E. Glenn Ave., Suites C and D. 

– The council approved a facility encroachment agreement with CSX Transportation Inc. for the Will Buechner Parkway Project for $21,000. 

– The council approved the renewal of the three-year Small Government Enterprise Agreement with ESRI Inc. for $55,000. 

– The council approved a contract with Forensic Technology Inc. to purchase equipment for the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network program for over $232,200. 

– The council approved a contract with the Loachapoka Water Authority for the water meter access fees for the new Environmental Services and Public Works Facility for $200,000. 

– The council approved drainage and utility easements for JL Ventures LLC at 220 N. Debardeleben St. 

– The council approved a utility easement for the Paul B. Webster and Beverly R. Webster Revocable Trust for the Will Buechner Parkway (also known as New Connector Road) Project at 2450 Martin Luther King Drive. 

– The council approved a board appointment for the board of zoning adjustment for a supernumerary position. 

– The council voted to establish a stop sign on Havens Court at Denali Lane for The Haven at Plainsman Lake. 

– The council rezoned 4.19 acres from rural to development district housing for the Links Crossing, Phase 5. 

– The council rezoned 5.69 acres from limited development district to comprehensive development district at 3022 Cox Road. 

– The council granted conditional use approval for the city of Auburn Public Safety Training Center at 7384 US Highway 280 W. 

– The council approved a tax abatement for Rausch and Pausch L.P. at 2450 Paul Parks Lane in the Auburn Technology Park West. 

– The council approved a tax abatement for Schmidt Automotive USA LP at 2471 Innovation Drive in the Auburn Technology Park West. 

– The council approved a contract with Bailey-Harris Construction Co. Inc. for the Lake Wilmore Community Center for over $19,900. 

The council approved legal action authorization against Misfits 4×4 Offroad at 1103 Opelika Road for “various violations of city codes and ordinances including but not limited to the Zoning Ordinance, Business License Ordinance, Building Code and the Property Maintenance Code.”

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