Troy City Council approves re-zoning of property for new Aldi Store

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Troy City Council had a busy night during its July 26 meeting and as a part of that meeting passed a resolution to re-zone property on U.S. Highway 231, which will be the future location of an Aldi Grocery Store.

Aldi Grocery Store locations are all over the country. (Submitted photo)

At the council’s last meeting, the council heard the reading of a proposed ordinance that would re-zone 4.51 acres of property on U.S. Highway 231, across from the Murphy Station, from a residential zone to a commercial zone. At the July 26 meeting, the council heard the second reading of the proposal and held a public hearing, which no one chose to speak at, and the ordinance was approved.

The property was re-zoned for the construction of an Aldi Grocery Store in the future. Aldi is a supermarket chain that operates more than 10,000 stores in 20 countries. Aldi has a number of locations across Alabama, including in Prattville, Montgomery and Auburn.

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Additionally, the council denied the request from Rebekah Lambert of Southwestern Advantage for a business license to do door-to-door solicitation. Lambert is a college student from Texas and an intern for Southwestern Advantage, which sells educational books and software door-to-door in communities across the country. During the council’s work session before the meeting, Mayor Jason Reeves informed the council that the city has historically denied these types of requests.

“Our stance historically has always been that we don’t want someone to walk up to someone’s home and initiate a financial transaction unsolicited,” Reeves said during the work session.

Councilperson Stephanie Baker made the motion to deny the request during the meeting.

“As long as I have been on the council – and even before – we have not passed any of these requests and that is under an abundance of caution for our citizens,” she said. “I’m wearing two hats here. In my position as a councilperson, for our citizens to have confidence that if they see anyone going door-to-door to know that we do not allow door-to-door solicitations, so that they don’t have to wonder, ‘Do they have a license? Are they a legitimate business?’

“Also for our officers, so that they know if they see a person going door-to-door that we do not issue those licenses. It isn’t about (Lambert), it’s just for the safety of our citizens. I’m also a mom and as of last week I have two teenage daughters. I would like to think that you would be safe anywhere and everywhere in our community but out of an abundance of caution for you not being from this area and going door-to-door, as well as the safety of our citizens, I am going to recommend that we deny this request.”

The council voted unanimously to deny the request but Baker, Reeves and other councilpersons gave Lambert advice on how to use social media and other options at her disposal to solicit potential business for herself. Lambert has a FaceBook page that can be found at https://www.facebook.com/RebekahEducationGirl.

The city approved a proposed memorandum of agreement with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) for use of ALEA’s Clearview AI software. Clearview AI is a facial recognition company that uses a database from news media, public social media and other open source platforms to help identify suspects in investigations. Troy Police Chief Randall Barr described a recent theft investigation that TPD was able to solve due to the help of ALEA in using the Clearview AI.

“This is just another tool in the tool box for our investigators,” Barr told the council. “Not everyone will have access to it, only investigators and the proper individuals will have the access to it on an as-needed basis.”

The council approved a resolution to authorize the city to enter into a settlement as a part of the ongoing legal battle that many states and cities have been in with opioid manufacturers. Troy entered into the class-action lawsuit back in 2018.

City Attorney Dickey Calhoun informed the council during the work session that both Johnson & Johnson and McKesson have agreed to settle in the suit. Calhoun said that the estimated portion of the money the City of Troy will receive from Johnson & Johnson’s settlement is $115,000 to be paid in one lump sum either later this year or early next year. The McKesson portion of the settlement going to Troy is estimated to be $230,000 paid in 10 annual payments beginning next year. Calhoun said that final numbers are not available yet because the two companies will also have to pay a portion of the city’s legal costs, as well, which has not yet been decided.

In other business, the council approved a request from the city’s Environmental Services department for the purchase of a John Deere Compact Track Loader at the cost of $87,125.40, which is a budgeted item. The council also entered into an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation to distribute funds for the city’s PATS, public transit, program. Also, the council approved a resolution to give the city the authority to remove a dilapidated building on 139 Montgomery Street. The owner of the building has 30 days to respond to a letter the city sent out on July 27. The council also approved the adoption of the Division B Hazardous Mitigation Plan with the Pike County Emergency Management Agency.

The council’s next public meeting will be held on Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. at Troy City Hall.