BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - After a three-hour debate, Vestavia Hills City Council voted 3-1 Monday night against a proposal from the Jimmie Hale Mission to open an upscale thrift store in the area.
During the meeting, supporters of the idea said the proposed thrift store would bring sales tax income to the city and fill a building that had been vacant for three years. Those who opposed the new business plan shared their concerns by showing pictures of the ministry's thrift stores in Pinson and Eastwood, saying the donations crowd the parking lot and could draw unwanted attention.
"It's my opinion this will hurt our long range strategic plans in the future," said council member Jim Sharp.
Vestavia's city attorney said he believes the city has no right to turn the business away, but it will be up to Jimmie Hale's board of directors to pursue the matter in court.
"We were really disappointed it was controversial. That's not what we're about, that's not what a Christian ministry is about. We're about helping people," said Tony Cooper, executive director for the mission. "My recommendation to our board of directors is that we not pursue it, but we'll have to see what their decision is."