Lawsuit filed against Trussville over Mall restrooms

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE – A Feb. 22 lawsuit filed in Jefferson County Civil Court seeks an injunction against the City of Trussville to stop construction of a restroom facility on The Mall.

On Feb. 13, percolation tests began on The Mall near the pavilion and pickleball courts. That same day, several protest signs were placed near orange cones that were marking areas that were dug up for percolation testing for a potential septic system. Since that time, fencing has been placed around the area where the restrooms will be constructed.

The lawsuit, Trussville Mall Residents v. City of Trussville, was filed by Trussville resident Arnold Reichert.

According to the filing, the residents of the Cahaba Project, specifically residents on North Mall, South Mall, and West Mall, “are seeking a permanent injunction to enjoin the construction of public restrooms currently in progress by the City of Trussville in a residential neighborhood which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Cahaba Homestead Village.”

Today’s citizens of this area of Trussville, according to the suit, “are proud and protective of its designation and go to great time and expense to maintain the area with some degree of historical character so that future generations can witness and appreciate its significance in history.”

The residents are petitioning the court for an injunction to stop the construction and allow time for the city to seriously consider alternative sites. According to the lawsuit, this restroom facility, in conjunction with the pickleball courts, are in violation of the Nuisance Law because:

A. They deny the homeowners’ normal use and enjoyment of their property.

The scene on The Mall on Feb. 13 (submitted photo)

B. Adding a permanent restroom encourages lengthier pickleball activity which already begins at daylight and continues until 11:30 PM most nights. The constant popping noise of the game is offensive to the senses in the residential area.

C. The large overhead timed lights go off around 10:00 PM, BUT the extra security lights along one side of the courts provide enough light to play all night long. All of the lights interfere with the homeowners nearby and force them to have blackout drapes for sleeping. Furthermore, the restrooms would be an eyesore illuminated at night.

D. The visual enjoyment of the homeowner’s view of the mall will be impeded by this large, permanent building. Several residents will look out their front window or open their doors to see a bathroom facility obstructing their view. Residents purchased their homes years ago with a reasonable expectation that The Mall would remain a dedicated green space as it has been for the last 86 years AND as it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington D.C.

E. These bathrooms will be UNSUPERVISED by the City of Trussville. Families with young children have expressed overwhelming concern that the bathrooms will invite misuse and abuse of the facilities and easy access to children by potential predators.

F. Property values may be compromised, especially for those homes with obstructed views and within close proximity to the bathroom building.

G. This location for the bathroom will require a septic system under the Mall which already floods after heavy rains and could cause damage to the trees on The Mall and to neighboring properties. Both other options suggested by residents permit easy access to the current sewer system, thus eliminating the need for a septic tank and fill lines.

According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 14, Reichert addressed the matter at the Trussville City Council meeting, hoping to delay the project long enough for the residents most affected to have time to give input. “Since that time, several residents have had meetings with Mayor [Buddy] Choat expressing concerns and offering other viable locations with plans that are less obtrusive and fewer than 100 yards from the courts,” the suit states. “The alternative plans for the restroom facility will be more convenient to 4 other public areas: the elementary school gym, ACTA community theatre, children’s playground and swimming pool, thus serving a larger group of people. Other residents put forth the idea of placing the restroom facility along one unused area of the aforementioned children’s playground.”

Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Protest signs showed up on The Mall near the sites of the percolation tests within a matter of hours on Feb. 13 (submitted photo)

“Approximately a year ago the City of Trussville transformed some of the tennis courts into 6 pickleball courts when that sport became increasingly popular,” the lawsuit states. “Pickleball courts are in use for as many as 18 hours a day, early in the morning until late at night. Current pickleball players have lately put pressure on the Mayor because they want a bathroom easily accessible to the courts, although there are already portable toilets maintained beside the courts. The plans for the new restroom included in this document are for a building 25 feet long 20 feet wide and 17 feet tall and will house only 4 toilets. This new bathroom would not eliminate the need for portable toilets which would still be brought in for large events. Also, new pickleball courts are being added to the nearby Trussville Sports Complex, likely reducing the crowds at the Mall courts around the same time this new restroom is to be built to serve those crowds. It is worth noting that joggers and people enjoying recreation on The Mall have made do without a restroom facility there for decades, as there are other public restrooms nearby.”

RELATED: Pickleball in Trussville: ‘The heartburn is the greenspace’

The lawsuit concludes by stating the residents of The Mall area “hope this will provide the opportunity for the Mayor’s office to re-think this project and find more discreet and tasteful options for the placement of restrooms. All Homeowners who make exterior home renovations in this neighborhood are REQUIRED to present their plans to the City of Trussville’s Design Review Board OR THEY DON’T RECEIVE A BUILDING PERMIT. The City should lead by example, with input from the Design Review Board and consider other locations for these restrooms. First and foremost, the City of Trussville should seek input from The Mall residents themselves. They are the stakeholders most affected by this decision that jeopardizes the views, design, and function of The Mall green space. Once any structures like public restrooms are built on this historic site they will NEVER be removed.”

This story will be updated if and when more information becomes available.

2 thoughts on “Lawsuit filed against Trussville over Mall restrooms

  1. This and other total disregard of nature is why Trussville is no longer a community of beauty. Property values will start to decline and CenterPoint and Trussville will merge.


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