Ohatchee council wants to know what’s underground before accepting land from county
by Brian Anderson
Jun 19, 2013 | 3412 views |  0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OHATCHEE — The Ohatchee Town Council is holding up a land transfer with Calhoun County until it can determine the extent of possible contamination in the area.

While the Calhoun County Commission has already approved handing over to the town seven acres of land along Alabama 77, Ohatchee Mayor Steve Baswell said at a council meeting Tuesday he needs to talk to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to make sure contamination from former underground storage tanks won’t cost the town money down the line.

The town currently uses a building on the property as a maintenance storage facility and pays the commission $1 annually to rent the building.

“Obviously I’d like to just own the property,” Baswell said. “But we got to make sure it’s not going to be more trouble than it's worth.”

The property is close to another seven-acre parcel of land owned by the Ohatchee Volunteer Fire Department. Once the department completes a proposed storm shelter, it’ll give the land to the town, Baswell said.

Also at the meeting Tuesday, Councilman J.M. “Butch” Mitchell suggested the council think about pushing for alcohol sales on Sundays for off-premises consumption.

“If we look at what Anniston and Weaver have successfully done, maybe we should think about it, too,” Mitchell said. “I’m not talking about bars and hangouts, but people on the river who want to buy a six-pack. That’s money in our pocket.”

Baswell said he was neither for nor against Sunday sales, but told council members if they were interested they would need to start thinking about pushing for legislation as early as possible.

“It’s not just calling them up down there and saying we want to do it,” Baswell said. “It takes a lot of planning.”

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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