Irondale council hears concerns over short-term tenancy and proclamation of St. Stephen shooting victim

By Nathan Prewett, For La Tribune

IRONDALE – A proclamation honoring Walter “Bart” Rainey, one of the victims of the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church shooting, was read by Mayor James Stewart during an Irondale City Council meeting. Council members also heard concerns about an application for a license for a short-term rental business.

Mia Jefferies (right) addresses Irondale City Council to apply for a license for her short-term rental business. (Photo by Nathan Prewitt)

Stewart read the proclamation aloud for Rainey, 84, an Irondale resident who was killed when Robert Findley-Smith opened fire during a potluck dinner on June 16, which also resulted in the deaths of two other people.

“Bart’s final hours were spent in one of his favorite places on earth, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, a place that welcomes all with love,” the proclamation reads. “[In] his last act on earth, Bart extended the hand of community and brotherhood to a stranger, regardless of the outcome.

The proclamation notes that Rainey attended Greenville High School in 1955 and attended college at Southwestern College and the University of Troy. He continued his education with a career in the forest products industry.

He was married to his wife, Linda, for 61 years.

“Bart will be deeply missed and his legacy will live on in the hearts of his wife, children and grandchildren,” the proclamation states.

During the regular meeting, City Council heard from concerned citizens about a business license requested by a married couple seeking to run a short-term rental business on South Fourth Avenue. Residents primarily raised tenant character and noise issues, including an incident of gunshots heard in the area.

The case was investigated by the Irondale Police Department, with Chief Jason Wiggins reporting that they had been tipped off about a short-term business (also likened to an Airbnb) that was operating without a license . He said the department felt he was not following city guidelines when renting a building to others, namely out-of-town visitors.

Councilwoman Cindy Cuellar said Wiggins’ report presented enough to deny the license.

“One of the things we want everyone to understand is that we have an order in place,” Cueller said. “You’ll follow the order, and if you don’t, we won’t approve it. This message must be loud and clear.

The council left the matter to public comment, several of which spoke. One of them was Terri Johnson.

“We, the citizens of Irondale, are concerned about the safety of our neighbors and our community,” Johnson said. “We are concerned about the lack of availability of affordable housing for families and people who wish to make Irondale a home rather than an investment, are concerned about the impact of short-term transients who have no vested interest in the community, continue to see a trend of homes being purchased in Irondale by investors with no knowledge or concern of the current ordinance, who continue to operate short-term rentals under false pretenses or attempt to legitimize them afterwards.

She went on to say that the citizens represented in the statement were concerned that the current ordinance was unenforceable and requested that the city’s ordinance include a no-short-term rentals policy.

One of the owners, Jared Jefferies, admitted he hadn’t followed the guidelines, but said he would.

“We’re not trying to usurp the system, not pay taxes, or do anything illegal,” Jefferies said. “From what I understood, I didn’t really know the requirements.”

He said they currently have friends and family staying in the building and are not running it short term for them. However, he added that such an establishment would have a positive impact on the city.

Later, his wife, Mia Jefferies, spoke.

“I care about Irondale,” Mia said. “I care about the future of Irondale. I’m not trying to turn it into something crazy; I don’t know what you think, but any concerns you have with me personally, you can come to me. to see. “

She said she would be willing to make concessions, such as not having local residents on the property, believing people would be less likely to bring others there to potentially disturb the peace.

“So there are certain things that can be put in place in these types of businesses to make everyone feel safe,” Mia said. “Because guests are as afraid to enter a neighborhood as residents are because everyone operates out of fear. No one knows who comes to our neighborhood; they don’t know where they live. Guests want to be safe; residents want to be safe; everyone wants the same thing at the end of the day.

She reiterated her husband’s statement that they were unaware of the process to comply with the city ordinance. Later, another resident, Mike Kofskey, who said he was a neighbor of the couple, accused Mia of lying and said they ignored the prescription until it was brought to them by the police. Jared Jefferies denied this.

After further discussion, the board ultimately voted to deny the license.

In other cases counsel:

  • Held a public hearing and filed a resolution requesting that a property on Overton Road be rezoned from Commercial District C-1 to Commercial District C-2;
  • Held a public hearing and approved an ordinance amending existing zoning ordinances relating to mini-warehouses or self-storage facilities in the city; and
  • Authorized the borrowing of $5,060,000 and the issuance of a general bond warrant of $5,060,000.

The following was adopted as part of the consent agenda:

  • A resolution to set the cost of demolishing and removing a structure at Hillside Drive for $4,103.81;
  • Authorize the signing of two lease amendments with Grants Mill Station in the amount of NNN 8.73 for a police station, detective unit and other uses in suite 123B of the Grants Mill Station shopping centre; and
  • Authorize Steward to sign an agreement with Square Capital to provide online payment of registration fees for young participants in sports at Irondale.

Irondale Town Council meetings can be viewed on their Youtube channel.

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