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Clanton Council says carnival will have to relocate

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

A carnival planned for a location on Highway 145 will have to be relocated following a vote by the Clanton City Council.

The unanimous vote to tell property owner New Life Community Church and event organizer Clanton Kiwanis Club that the event could not be held on the property was based on the fact that the zoning for the property does not permit a carnival, except by special approval.

Council member Jeffery Price was absent.

The zoning issue was brought to the council’s attention by building inspector Gene Martin after three members of the surrounding neighborhood expressed concerns.

Martin said the property was zoned O1 — Office 1, and this zoning does not allow carnivals. “

“It’s office because it’s supposed to be normal operating hours during the day … a church can go in O1, but a carny (carnival) can’t,” Martin said. “No one has checked with the zoning department — that would be the building department — as of now no one has checked with us. The only way you can have any kind of special exception is by going through the board of adjustments and appeals and requesting a special exception for the venue to operate.”

Martin said a public hearing is a part of the special exception process.

He said he could explain to the Kiwanis Club “in a nice way that this isn’t going to work here.”

Carnivals are permitted in city park’s by Council permission, agriculture, Manufacturing 1 and Heavy Manufacturing zones. Anywhere else would require special permission from the zoning board.

In recent years, Kiwanis has started holding a spring carnival in addition to its annual County Fair as a way to raise more funds to give away to organizations focused on helping children in Chilton County.  It has traditionally been held at Goose Pond Park but was planned to be at the old hospital property this year.

This property is the future site of New Life Community Church, and the former hospital building has been demolished.

Resident Tommy Brown addressed the Council saying he represented residents of Love Drive and Charles Street.

“The Kiwanians and the church have made an agreement to have their kids’ carnival out there at the old hospital, and no one was contacted in the community,” Brown said.

He said the carnival would be going from 6 -11 p.m.

“My den window is 400 feet from the back of that lot, and there is nothing between that window and Lay Dam Road,” Brown said. “All that light and noise is going to be in my house.”

Brown had requested that Love Drive be blocked during the event to keep people from parking in the street.

“If the city doesn’t have people to man the street blocks, I have people in the neighborhood that will,” Brown said.

Community member Greg Nobles said everyone he has talked to “had no clue about it.”

“There is no reason someone should be doing something that big in the city without the city knowing every step along the way,” Greg Nobles sad.

Terri Nobles, a retired teacher, expressed concern that the carnival was being held the week of state testing and would keep neighborhood children from getting enough sleep.

“We have nothing against anyone involved in this … we just don’t want this event (on that property),” Terri Nobles said.

Martin and Greg Nobles said they first heard about the carnival on Facebook.

“If the zone says they can’t do it, they shouldn’t be able to do it period,” Greg Nobles said.

Also during the meeting:

  • Chilton/Clanton Public Library director Savannah Kitchens asked the council to make the library personnel employees of the city and pay the retirement for the full-time employees and five retirees. Kitchens said the city’s contributions to the library are already used to pay the salaries, so the only increase would be the retirement and employee expenses.

“We found out that starting in October 2019, the library is going to be responsible for a $7,000 annual increase in retirements,” Kitchens said.

Driver expressed concern that if the city did this for the library other boards that the City Council contributes to would ask for the same              consideration. He also pointed out that the City of Clanton contributes more to the library than any other entity.  The City Council is expected to speak with its attorney and potentially consider the topic at a later date.

  • The Council paid a bill to Chilton Contractors for $16,400.
  • The Council hired summer employees for the Parks and Recreation department.