BY MICHELLE KEY
Several Opelika residents and business owners spoke out against the city of Opelika’s proposed rental registration ordinance that was introduced during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
The ordinance woud create a registry of rental properties within Opelika city limits, requiring all rental properties to undergo an inspection and register in order to be eligible to be rented.
Jimmy Hurst was the first citizen and landlord to address the council regarding the proposed ordinance, and he expressed his concerns about the legislation.
“This ordinance that is proposed by the city, the council, if you really look at it, is probably going to hurt the people that you think its going to help,” Hurst said.
He spoke about how it is likely to increase costs and how those costs will be passed on to the tenants.
“What happens when operating costs [increase]? They are passed on right?”
He ended his public comments with what he called a “hard question.”
“Is this ordinance a way to run low-income people out of Opelika?”
Businessman, Kurt Hayley, owner of Hayley Management Company, also spoke about the proposed ordinance.
Hayley questioned how the city would be prepared to handle the volume of inspections that this ordinance would require as well as the timing considering how small businesses have already been affected by COVID.
“Small businesses have been affected by COVID-19 more than ever; the eviction moratorium still stands. I have owners that are allowing tenants to live in their houses who have not paid rent for a year and they are communicating that they have no rights.”
Hayley spoke about the landlord-tenant relationship and how he feels that it is not the job of the council to manage those relationships.
“People back there [referring to another landlord] rent stuff for $195, not for money, it’s relationship. We feel like that what y’all are doing is, y’all are managing our relationships and that is not what a city is supposed to do,” he said.
“This is not the time after COVID-19 to introduce this; we should be recovering, restoring our people and restoring our businesses.”
Business owners, Bill Brown and Emily Key also spoke out against the ordinance.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled to be voted on at the next scheduled meeting of the city council.
– The council held public hearings for several weed abatements and later voted to approve those abatements. The properties are listed below:
– 301 S. 3rd St.
– 309 S. 4th St.
– 411 S. 4th St
– 504 S. 4th St.
– 209 N. 16th St.
– 3307 Arnold Ave.
– 10 Ave. A
– 120 Chester Ave.
– 814 Donald Ave.
– 2300 Dorsey St.
– 310 Pleasant Dr.
– 915 York Ave.
– The council approved two requests for a refund of occupational license fees.
– The council approved a resolution to amend the Organizational Chart for the Information Technology Department.
– The council voted to approve a lease agreement with Petrina Properties, LLC.
– The council approved a resolution to designate bank depositories and official signers on city bank accounts.
– The council approved an ordinance to amend the zoning ordinance and master plan for 3.91 acres of land located on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
– The council voted to approve a one-year extension of various tax abatements for West Fraser, Inc.
– The council voted to approve a contract for the purchase of coverings for the additional 12 pickleball courts located at the Opelika SportsPlex.
– The council approved the appointment of Sidney James Nakhjavan to the Lee County Youth Development Center Board for an existing term which will expire on Oct. 1, 2021.
– The council approved the appointment of Mike Shannon to the Celebrate Alabama Improvement District Board for an existing term which will expire on Aug. 5, 2025.
– The council approved the reappointment of Kelly Davidson to the Celebrate Alabama Improvement District Board for a new term which will expire on Aug. 5, 2027.
The next meeting will be on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m.