Tire storage stumps council

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2003

Ben Lane isn’t sure what else he’s supposed to do. If his business, Lane’s Tire, puts a new tire on a vehicle, that means an old one has to come off and be discarded somewhere.

Instead of creating a huge pile of mosquito-infested tires, Lane purchased a trailer that keeps water out of the tires and passers-by on U.S. Highway 80 from seeing a blob of black rubber.

Part of Lane’s predicament is that hiring a firm to take the tires away costs a lot of money, and there is no local service that can haul used tires to an acceptable dump. Instead, he uses a service out of Mobile every three months that charges $1 for every tire it hauls.

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Despite Lane’s effort to keep his business presentable, he recently received a letter from the City of Demopolis telling him that his storage trailer violated a city ordinance banning unattached storage spaces.

That creates an entirely new set of problems.

The Council and Mayor Austin Caldwell didn’t turn a deaf ear on Lane. They listened, even agreeing that some sort of compromise needs to be worked out.

The notice Lane received came after complaints about certain businesses in the city limits that haven’t complied with the city ordinance. Lane happened to be one of the businesses, though he wasn’t the only one to receive a notice from the city.

The reason for the city’s ordinance makes sense. In effect, Junior Brooker, head of the city’s street department, said unsecured storage spaces are a danger during inclement weather, especially during tornadoes.

According to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Lane and other tire store owners have few options for discarding the old rubber.

After Lane made his plea to council, Caldwell decided the city needs to seek out advice on how to handle the situation facing Lane and other tire store owners.