Last week, a Jefferson County judge placed a restraining order on the City of Hoover on behalf of the City of Helena amid an annexation battle over part of an unincorporated community in Jefferson County.

But Hoover is not the only nearby municipality in a turf dispute with the City of Helena.

Helena is now appealing a separate case in Shelby County against its neighbor, Pelham.

The Helena-Pelham conflict began in June 2021 when the Pelham Board of Education (PBOE) purchased 52 acres of undeveloped land and began developing an athletic field for Pelham High School. 

But though the land is located behind Pelham High School, it technically falls within the Helena city limits. Under Helena’s zoning law, the land is zoned for single-family residential use. 

Helena sued the PBOE, requesting that the PBOE either abide by the zoning law or annex the land, emitting it from the jurisdiction of Helena’s police and fire departments. That way, Helena taxpayers do not have to pay for services provided to Pelham schools.

The PBOE argued that school systems do not have to follow zoning ordinances under Alabama law if developing land for government purposes. 

In May 2022, a Shelby County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the PBOE, but Helena took the case to the Alabama Supreme Court in October, and the Shelby County Circuit Court ruling was reversed.

Helena reinstituted a stop work order against the PBOE at the end of last year to enforce its zoning regulations. However, the PBOE continued with the construction anyway, arguing that the Alabama Supreme Court reversal did not require them to cease development of the facility. 

Earlier this month,  the Shelby County Circuit Court supported the PBOE’s position again. 

According to ABC3340, Helena is now trying to bring the case back to the Alabama Supreme Court. The city submitted an appeal of the second Shelby County court ruling on Thursday.

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