Fort Payne City Council extends logging moratorium
September 7, 2016 Share

Fort Payne City Council extends logging moratorium

Fort Payne City Council extends logging moratorium

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — “It’s going to take some cooperative work and it’s not something that’s going to be immediate in nature,” said Fort Payne City Attorney Rocky Watson on a proposed amendment to the logging ordinance, extending the ban until February 1.

In June, the Fort Payne City Council passed an ordinance requiring those companies conducting logging on private lands within the city limits to obtain a permit issued by the city, then immediately passed a moratorium forbidding the city from issuing permits for 60 days.

After the 60 day period ended last weekend, Rocky Watson brought a new amendment before the council, extending the moratorium until February 1.

Watson explained his reasoning before the matter was voted on: “Since we know that there is at least two of you that are not returning for the new (council), It would be good rather than asking the new council to address this quickly, this will give them a couple, three months to consider it.”

The city decided to take drastic measures on the logging industry after a group of citizens from Godfrey Avenue and 38th Street made their complaints known to the council earlier in the summer.

The complaints included the danger posed by logging trucks on those streets where many families reside as well as the eye sore caused by the clearcutting.

Many were also concerned about the elevated risk of flooding created by the logging. When an area undergoes deforestation, the removal of the roots causes the soil to be more easily washed away by water.

The amendment passed unanimously, banning the issue of new permits until at least February. This gives the city council more time to determine the proper process for the permits and the risk of runoff and flooding from the mountains.

The Mapco property, across from the Coal and Iron building, has long been sought by the city as part of the revitalization efforts. (Photo by Marla Jones)

The Mapco property, across from the Coal and Iron building, has long been sought by the city as part of the revitalization efforts. (Photo by Marla Jones)

The council also decided unanimously to proceed with the purchase of the Mapco building in downtown.

“I move that we proceed with purchase of the property, contingent on the subsequent use language,” said Councilman Randall Hamm.

The city has sought to purchase the property for quite sometime. On Gault Avenue, right across from the Coal and Iron Building, many in the community and city leadership view the building as an eyesore, and not in keeping with the revitalization efforts going on downtown. The council vote unanimously to proceed with the purchase.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Fort Payne City Council will be held Tuesday, September 20 at 6:00 pm.

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