City of Madison considers amendment that would allow them to close Three Springs

MADISON, Ala. - Monday night at the Madison City Council meeting, members took the first step in making it possible for the City of Madison to revoke the business license of the Three Springs treatment facility off of Browns Ferry Road.

Amending a business license ordinance may not seem like much, but it could end up having a direct impact on whether the treatment facility is able to keep the lights on.

“It actually gives us another tool," says Madison City Council President Tommy Overcash.

In August, Madison Police say Three Springs residents Jakobe Carter and Aaron Jones ran away and are now accused of killing 61-year-old Van Johnson.

When nearby neighbors pressured the city to do something, they discovered, legally they couldn't, which is where the amended ordinance comes in.

“It allows us to consider whether that business is number one a safety hazard or a public nuisance," says Overcash.

The ordinance presented to city council adds in the words "public health" and "safety" to the criteria the council can consider when renewing, approving, or in Three Springs' case, revoking a business license.

It's language that's been added on in other Alabama cities, like Birmingham.

“It’s pretty common to tweak them as you find need," says Overcash.

This was the first reading, so the council can't officially vote on the measure until the next time they convene.

In the meantime for Three Springs, Overcash has a plan.

“Our short term interest is really securing the place. We’re starting up a community meeting real soon with community members," he says.

Overcash insists, city leaders don't know if they'll use this amendment in the Three Springs case, but at least for now, they have all their options open.

"Find out whether we can move them somewhere, if they need to modify their contracts with the state. It’s really secure it first and then find out what to do," says Overcash. 

Council President Overcash says he's confident the business license amendment will pass when the council meets again in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Three Springs Oversight Committee, put into place by Mayor Paul Finley at the last council meeting, will hold its first meeting next week.