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Jacksonville City Council approves additions to Stoney Brook

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JACKSONVILLE The Jacksonville City Council voted Monday night to move forward with a plan to add 167 lots to the area in The Havens at Stoney Brook subdivision. The “Section 3” new development will offer the lots for sale.

The company developing the property is LBYD Engineers of Birmingham. When development is complete the land could hold dwellings for 167 families in Jacksonville’s growing population. The latest census, which came out this year, showed a growth of almost 1,800, which was the largest gain of local cities of more than 5,000.

Mayor Johnny Smith is excited about the potential growth in the city’s population.

“It will take time to build and sell the houses,” he said. “We are grateful that the developers are interested in our area. They see something good happening here. This is very encouraging for our future.”

At a work session prior to the meeting, the council discussed setting the dates for municipal and school board elections, with a goal to space them two apart by about two years. The fewer number of candidates for each election will be less confusing for voters and should allow candidates to run simpler campaigns without so much election “noise.” At the regular session, the resolutions to set the dates passed for both elections, although election dates themselves were not established.

The council authorized the participation of Jacksonville in the state’s designated Severe Weather Preparedness Sales and Use Tax holiday. The state allows the tax breaks in February to help families save on energy costs. The tax breaks are similar to the tax savings held before school starts each year, which give parents and guardians a discount on the price of purchasing back-to-school items and clothing.

Another discussion in the work session involved studying the  danger of using drones on city property, including the streets. Children will be receiving the drones for Christmas, and it is important that they only use the drones above their own property. Discussions also took place about the use of drones during city events and the need for prior authorization when used above city property. Other restrictions on drones may be added in the future.

The City Council hopes to avoid having a district of vape and/or tobacco shops. Discussions at Monday’s meeting placed a moratorium on issuing licenses for shops in that business category for six months. Currently, two additional vape shops have applied, one to be located at Pelham Plaza and the other on the Jacksonville Square.

Near the end of the regular session, Smith thanked all who had sent to him condolences, flowers and cards after the death of his wife, Sarah, who died on Nov. 12. The two had been married for 61 years.

In a Skype meeting on Wednesday morning, the city amended the minutes of the Monday meeting and approved the Off-Premises Beer and Wine applications for XHale Hookah Lounge at 1955 Pelham Road South. Also, it appointed a nominee for Health Care Authority of the City of Anniston, who is Koven Brown.