By Nathan Prewett
LEEDS — At a regular meeting on Monday, April 19, the Leeds City Council considered revoking the licenses of two businesses in Leeds.
The meeting turned out to be lengthy, running nearly an hour and a half as most of the focus was on considering revoking the business licenses of Greenwave Collision, an autobody repair shop, and Hayes Construction.
A public hearing was held for the revoking of the licenses, as well as for granting an alcohol license to Himalaya Corporation, trade name Lucky 7s at 7502 Parkway Drive. During the public hearing, the owners of both businesses spoke in opposition to revocation.
An attorney, Clarence Dortch, spoke as a representative of Gene Martin, who manages Greenwave Collision with his wife. He said that they were not notified of multiple complaints against them and were not given copies detailing the complaints.
A number of complaints have been made against Greenwave Collison, including abatement issues, delay times and lack of communications with customers after taking money, keeping vehicles on the lot overtime, as well as a violation regarding oil on the grounds there. Later in the meeting, Martin said that the property had been inspected by the EPA and received a “clean bill of health”.
Dortch requested that the matter be taken up at the next meeting as he and his clients review the complaints. City Attorney J. Scott Barnett said he did not have an objection to this.
Also speaking in the public hearing was a customer who identified himself as Jeff Hilley, who said that he brought a car to the shop six months ago but complained about a lack of communication from Martin about the car’s progress. He was then notified by Dortch through Martin that the car was ready, but Hilley criticized the delay.
The council ultimately decided on continuing with the matter in the regular meeting.
Following this was Jonathan Hayes, owner of Hayes Construction, speaking in regard to two building projects. Hayes spoke before the council, presenting his state building license and saying that he had a variance. The complaint against him was that he had the variance but no permits for the projects.
Things briefly became tense as a disagreement between Hayes and Mayor David Miller over his business license versus having a permit ensued as Miller turned referred the matter to the council, with Hayes being told by Police Chief Jim Atkinson to return to his seat.
Fire Chief Chuck Parsons announced the purchase of a new ladder truck for the department for $1.4 million, as well as a live-fire training session to take place during the week at Fire Station 1.
City Magistrate Laura Roberts reported that new cameras have been installed on school buses. These cameras record cars that illegally pass buses when they are stopped. A number of citations have been issued to offenders that have been recorded, she said.
Leeds Jane Culbreth Library Director Melanie Carden reported that the library is open and now taking two people at a time as part of a policy implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Discussion later returned to Greenwave Collision and Hayes Construction. Martin and Dortch both spoke in response to the complaints and citations against Greenwave Collison. The discussion became similar to a trial as Dortch presented a number of photographs and documents of emails to the city regarding abatement.
Some of the photographs were of other businesses in Leeds that they said were in violation of city ordinances but had not been cited, though Roberts said that they had been.
In this defense, Martin said that he requested Public Works Director Brad Watson to come to the property and assist him with what to do about abatement. He also said that COIVD affected the business.
Watson later commented that Martin had received communications from the city and that he had been unavailable for a request from Martin to meet. He said that someone had been assigned to meet with him though Martin claimed that no one ever met with him.
Martin and a witness named Alan Spradlin, from Trussville, who said he was involved in the repair business himself, detailed what may be considered a complex, long and difficult process in ordering parts and dealing with insurance companies, which may cause complications.
“I’m asking to be left alone,” Martin told the council. “I’m asking to move forward; I’m asking to comply and move on and quit being harassed.”
After the discussion was finished, Miller asked for a motion to pass the resolution but that was not answered, which caused it to fail.
The council then returned to Hayes Construction, with Hayes saying his license has been renewed and expressed his desire to finish the projects. After some discussion on this, similar to the resolution on Greenwave Collison, a motion was called by Miller but was not answered, causing this to fail as well. Miller emphasized to Hayes that he still needs a permit.
In other business, the council:
- Voted to renew its contract with Spectrum Southeast,
- Approved the 2021 “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday, and
- Agreed to purchase various equipment: Police body and vehicle cameras for $107,007, body cameras with Cloud-based data storage for $41,364, a fire department vehicle camera system for $39,994, Cloud-based data storage and warrant for the fire department for $3,913, a dump truck not to exceed $126,000, and vehicles for storm water management not to exceed $13,0000, and
- Granted the alcohol license to Lucky 7s.
Meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of every month. Agenda packets can be seen online at the City of Leeds website.