Alabama Code Title 11. Counties and Municipal Corporations § 11-3A-2

(a) Except where otherwise specifically prohibited or provided for either heretofore or hereafter by general law or the constitution of this state and subject to the procedures and limitations set out in this chapter, the county commission of a county may provide for its property and affairs;  and for the public welfare, health, and safety of the citizens throughout the unincorporated areas of the county by exercising certain powers for the protection of the county and public property under its control.  The powers granted herein to provide for the public welfare, health, and safety of its citizens shall only include the following:

(1) Abatement of weeds as a public nuisance as defined in Section 11-67-60.

(2) Subject to the provisions of Section 6-5-127, control of animals and animal nuisances.

(3) Control of litter as defined in subsection (b) of Section 13A-7-29, or rubbish as defined in subdivision (4) of Section 22-27-2.

(4) Junkyard control of areas which create a public nuisance because of an accumulation of items described in the definition of a junkyard under Section 11-80-10.

(5) Subject to the provisions of Section 6-5-127, abatement of noise, unsanitary sewage, or pollution creating a public nuisance as defined in Sections 6-5-120 and 6-5-121.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (h), the process for implementation of the powers set out in subsection (a) may be authorized by resolution of the majority of the county commission or in response to a petition signed by 10 percent of the total number of qualified electors of the county who reside in the unincorporated areas of the county.  A petition shall only be accepted if signed by 10 percent of the total number of qualified electors who reside in the unincorporated areas of the county.  The petition shall include the full legal names and addresses of all persons signing the petition and shall be filed in the office of the judge of probate.  The judge of probate shall within 60 days verify that all of the persons signing the petition are in fact qualified electors and legal residents of the unincorporated areas of the county and shall immediately thereafter forward the petition to the chairperson of the county commission.  Following receipt of the verified petition, the county commission shall, at its next regularly scheduled meeting, make preparations for the referendum on the issue as set out in Section 11-3A-5.

(c) The powers granted to a county commission by this chapter shall not be construed to extend to any matters which the Legislature by general law has heretofore preempted by operation of law and the powers granted by this chapter shall not be limited or superseded by local law enacted after May 26, 2005.  The legislative intent of this chapter is not to diminish any local law previously enacted and such local laws are to be read in pari materia with this chapter.  The county commission may adopt ordinances to effectuate the orderly implementation of the powers granted herein under the procedures set out in Section 11-3A-3.  Ordinances adopted by the county commission shall provide a process for notice to any persons cited for violation of such ordinance, and shall also include procedures for appeal to the county commission to contest any citation issued for an alleged violation of any ordinance adopted by the county commission pursuant to this chapter.

(d) The powers granted to a county commission by this chapter shall not include any of the following:

(1) The authority of a county to levy or collect any tax, to levy or collect any fee except an administrative fee as provided in this chapter, or to implement a county land use plan or to establish and enforce planning and zoning.

(2) Any action extending the power of regulation over any business activity regulated by the federal Surface Transportation Board, the Public Service Commission, the Department of Agriculture and Industries, or the Department of Environmental Management beyond that authorized by general law or by the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.

(3) Any action affecting any court or the personnel thereof.

(4) Any action affecting any public school system.

(5) Any action affecting pari-mutuel betting or any pari-mutuel betting facility.

(6) Any action affecting in any manner the property, affairs, boundaries, revenues, powers, obligations, indebtedness, or government of a municipality or any municipal or public corporation organized pursuant to Chapter 50 of this title.

(7) Any action affecting the private or civil law governing private or civil relationships, except as is incident to the exercise of an independent governmental power.

(8) Any action extending the power of regulation over the construction, maintenance, operation, or removal of facilities used in the generation, transmission, or distribution of water, sewer, gas, telecommunications, or electric utility services.

(9) Any action affecting the rights granted to an agricultural, manufacturing, or industrial plant or establishment, or farming operation pursuant to Section 6-5-127, or other general laws in effect on May 26, 2005, or thereafter.

(10) Any action affecting or enforcing environmental easements or, except as authorized in this section, to abate a public nuisance, any use of private property otherwise authorized under the constitution and laws of the State of Alabama.

(11) Any action restricting or regulating surface mining or underground mining activities that have been granted federal or state permits and any operation or facility engaged in the activities of processing or distributing any product or material resulting from the mining activity.

(e) Unless otherwise provided by general law, a county may not exercise any of the powers or provide any service authorized by this chapter inside the corporate limits of any municipality or within any other territory in which a municipality or an instrumentality of a municipality is authorized by general law to exercise the power or provide those services, or within any other county, except by contract with the municipality, municipal instrumentality, or county affected.

(f) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to grant the county commission of a county any general authority to establish or adopt a comprehensive plan for zoning or land use regulation in the unincorporated areas of the county or to grant any taxing authority except as otherwise provided for by law.

(g) This chapter shall not preclude municipal utilities from expanding into the county as otherwise provided by law and shall not grant counties the authority to govern or regulate municipal water and sewer systems which operate within the county.

(h) In counties with a Class 3 municipality with a county commission which is presided over by a chairman elected countywide, a four-fifths majority vote of the county commission members elected by single member districts shall be required for the implementation of this chapter by the commission pursuant to subsection (b) and Section 11-3A-6 and such four-fifths majority vote shall also be required on all matters related to the utilization of the powers granted under this chapter.

(i) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow a county commission to expend any county funds for any improvement on private property.

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