A railroad and its neighbors came to Birmingham City Council ready to do battle. The issue is whether CSX Railroad can build an overpass in southwest Birmingham. Some people don't want it. They came ready to speak at a public hearing. The hearing never happened.
A typo on the council agenda, and a council member's motion to delay a vote stopped everything for at least the next three weeks.
"The council has to be informed. We have to have a reason why we vote yes or a reason why we vote no," said city council member Carole Smitherman.
She says she can't make an informed decision right now on whether to allow new construction for a railroad line in her district. So she made a motion to delay the vote. The council obliged.
Residents who were prepared to make statements today, say they are pleased with delay. They say they will take the next three weeks doing research to collect more evidence on why the council should vote "no" the construction. Ronald Jackson is a resident in the east Brownville neighborhood.
"We think there is much more time needed to do an authentic environmental impact study. Not something by CSX paid lobbyists, rather by independent peer review organizations. And we're bringing them in," he said.
Council member Jay Roberson suggested the council vote today, reminding them that public hearings were already conducted.
Robersan says he believes the city has followed proper procedure, but respects Smitherman's concerns and those of the people in her district.
"We did procedurally do these things right with it coming out of committee to the council for consideration, with the public hearing, an open meeting that was sponsored by council member Carole Smitherman. So now over the three weeks we will get with the constituents and hopefully come to a conclusion on this matter," he said.
Neither Smitherman nor Roberson would indicate which way they're leaning in terms of their votes. They would only say they will take this time to hear what residents have to say.