BY HANNAH LESTER
Murals are now allowed in the city of Auburn.
The Auburn City Council approved an amendment to Article II and Article IV in the city of Auburn Zoning Ordinance. This “removes the prohibition of murals.”
This decision comes after recommendations from the Mural and Arts Study Committee were reviewed.
The Mural and Arts Study Committee included Mayor Pro Tem and Ward 3 City Council Member Beth Witten, and Ward 6 Council Member Bob Parsons. It also included Jana Jager and Marcus Marshall, both from the Auburn Planning Commission, and Robyn Bridges from Auburn Opelika Tourism, stakeholders, Auburn Parks and Recreation members, representatives from the Jule Collins Smith Museum and from the Montgomery Arts Commission.
The committee was formed in February after the Auburn Zoning Board called for the removal of an Opelika Road Mural on the side of Bedzzz Express.
The mural depicts “Greetings From Auburn,” with each letter showcasing a different part of Auburn including Chris Davis, former Auburn running back in the Kick Six in 2013; Momma Goldberg’s and Chicken Salad Chick’s logos; Jordan-Hare Stadium; Samford Hall; the lathe; and Bo Jackson. The background of the mural includes Aubie, an Eagle, Toomer’s Drugstore and the Auburn Oaks, rolled in toilet paper.
Following public outcry, the city agreed to look at what would be necessary to change ordinances.
The committee was formed.
For information on the deliberations, see a former article here: www.opelikaobserver.com/auburn-talks-murals/.
“These revisions will allow murals to be permitted within any zoning district in the City of Auburn,” said city of Auburn documents. “Since murals will not be regulated by the Zoning Ordinance, City officials will utilize existing state and city laws for the display of any mural that is considered obscene, or which constitutes a public nuisance (graffiti/safety).”
Given the laws will be utilized at a state level, Anders said he hopes the city will be responsible, but also said he is excited for the options available to the community.
“Over the course of the last six to eight months that the study group met several times and I’m proud of the recommendations, and the product that’s in front of us and the ordinance,” Witten said.
The previously postponed Lake Wilmore Community Center is back on track.
The council approved a conditional use approval – pubic service use for the Lake Wilmore Community Center Tuesday night.
The center will be located at 737 Ogletree Road and will include a community recreation center, covered swimming pool, athletic fields and public park.
This site has received conditional use approval before in 2020 but was delayed due to COVID-19.
The property includes roughly 210 acres. It will also have a walking path, four multi-purpose fields and courts. It will serve several sports in the area including football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and more. It will also be able to serve more casual, non-youth sports like disc golf and pickleball.
Several parents, coaches and members of different planning groups in Auburn spoke in favor of the center.
However, most said that this is not only desperately needed, but overdue and not enough to fill the need in Auburn.
“It’s no secret, we’re in a tight spot,” said one citizen in favor of the project. “We’re growing way way fast. We don’t have the facilities. We can sit here all night and try to figure out how to fix this problem; we’re not going to do that.”
The fields athletes currently utilized were compared to landfills. Sometimes basketball players are beginning games at 9 p.m. because that’s the only time the courts become available.
Many citizens, while encouraging the council to pass this project, also encouraged them to make this a “first step.”
“We have not kept up with our rec facilities for our children,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “We’ve just not done it. And there’s a number of reasons why that’s happened and there’s no reason to get back into that tonight. But we’ve got to start chipping away at this. And I agree with those who came up here tonight and recognize that there is no finality in what we’re potentially doing here tonight. This is just the beginning.”
– The council approved an alcohol beverage license for Country Kwik Inc. d/b/a Country Kwik Food Mart for retail beer and retail table wine licenses and a Class II Lounge Retail Liquor license.
– The council approved a contract with Alabama Power Company for the removal of above-ground utilities and installation of underground utilizes in downtown Auburn for more than $146,190.
– The council approved a contract with Communications International Inc. for the purchase of P-25 simulcast Radio tower equipment for more than $728,400.
– The council approved a tax abatement for Korea File Tech America Inc at 272 Technology Parkway during its meeting.
– The council approved a contract with Cook’s Pest Control Inc. for pest control services for city facilities for more than $20,500.
– The council approved a contract with Cutting Edge Lawn Service LLC for landscape maintenance at Exit 50 on I-85 for more than $93,800.
– The council approved the purchase of four Dell EMC Isilon A200 archive nodes and related software with three years of support and maintenance for over $112,800.
– The council approved the purchase of four Dell EMC Isilon H400 archive nodes and related software with three years of support and maintenance for over $212,000.
– The council approved a contract with East Alabama Healthcare Authority d/b/a East Alabama EMS, LLC for the emergency response, rescue and ambulance services annual contract for over $376,500.
– The council approved a contract with Emergency Equipment Professionals Inc. for the purchase of a Pierce Tiller Truck for the fire department for over $1.5 million.
– The council approved a contract with the National Auto Fleet for the purchase of two F-150 pickup trucks for the parks and recreation department for over $83,900.
– The council approved a contract with Pate Landscape Company for emergency repair to the greenspace on North College Street in front of the Wright Street Parking Deck for $45,000.
– The council approved a contract with Signature Tennis Courts Inc. for the resurfacing of clay courts at the Yarbrough Tennis Center for $86,000.
– The council approved a contract with Sunsouth LLC for the purchase of a John Deere Tractor with a box blade and front-end loader for the parks and recreation department for over $55,700.
– The council granted approval of an underground utility easement in Downtown Auburn for the Alabama Power Company for property behind 124 Tichenor Ave.
– The council accepted rights-of-way, sanitary sewer, drainage and utility easements for Bison Trust for the Haven at Plainsman Lake at 124 Tichenor Ave.
– The council accepted drainage and utility easements and sanitary sewer easements for Tally Holdings, LLC for the Harper Avenue II – Consolidation Plat located at Bryant Circle.
– The council denied unanimous consent to amend the City Code – Chapter 12 to amend the procedure for revocation of business licenses. It will be assessed in two weeks.
– The council established a no parking zone at 118 S. Gay St.
– The council voted against annexing 21.84 acres for property at 484 Lee Road 25 — the Greinke Annexation.
– The council annexed 4.33 acres for the Buc-ee’s Detention Pond annexation for property along Lee Road 12.
– The council approved a conditional use approval for an institutional use of a church. North College Church will be located at in the 1200 block of North College Street.
– The council approved a conditional use approval for an industrial use use for a manufacturing facility for Shinhwa at 2530 West Technology Lane.
– The council approved a conditional use approval for a commercial support and road service use for U-Haul Moving and Store at 136 West Creek Parkway.