MOODY — The city council approved rezoning two property parcels in the Alden Glenn subdivision amid voices of opposition at its regular meeting Monday night.
The council voted 4-2 to rezone the property from R-1 residential to RG, or garden homes. Jerry Thornton, representing Bill Thornton, Inc., presented the proposed development to the council and the citizens during a public hearing. Thornton said the current design is for approximately 65 new garden homes in the area.
“This is fitting with the current neighborhoods on either side,” Thornton said.
Mayor Joe Lee said rezoning was necessary because of the location of the land.
“All that property was dedicated years ago to be a planned subdivision,” Lee said. “Over time, it got rezoned because of demand. What we have now is R-1 property that will never be developed because it’s in the middle of RG zoning.”
The adjoining property owners in attendance disagreed loudly.
“I think I speak for everyone here when I say, we don’t want any more homes in that area,” Bob Bragg said. “We just don’t see the need.”
Concerns about a potential new development centered largely around property values, privacy and drainage, which is already an issue in the area.
Zach Lang, who lives in Edgewood, said the property behind his has a steep uphill grade.
“My concern is separating the subdivisions,” he said. “Anybody’s going to be able to look down into our yard. There needs to be fencing or trees or shrubs to cut that off.”
Thornton said he intends to preserve any trees that are “salvageable,” and Lee said the platt approval will need to show division between the properties.
“There needs to be separation there,” he said. “Separation could be a wooden fence, either from the new homeowners or the old.”
Lang also raised concerns about drainage issues. Lee said Monday’s meeting was about zoning, and that no firm plans are in place.
“If you get the zoning, then it goes back before the Planning Commission for platt approval and drainage issues,” he said. “Our engineer will have to sign off on any drainage issues before anything is approved.”
Bob Clem also spoke during the meeting, saying that the present zoning would be sufficient if the city left it in place.
“If it were handled right, it could be a real nice R-1 setup,” Clem said. “It would be ideal for somebody who wanted a little bit larger lot but wanted to be close to the highway.
“I know what the final answer is: it’s money. If there was no money in it, we wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t be discussing it.”
Cletus Beard, president of the homeowners association in Alden Glenn, said the HOA did not oppose the rezoning.
“We’re not going to ask you not to rezone,” he said. “We are very concerned about the traffic. We’re going to have to put a hard press on that issue, or we’re going to have somebody killed, whether we add homes or not.”
Lee said he understood the concerns, but that he intended to continue with the process.
“I owned four acres for 33 years and I had all the privacy I wanted until the garden homes came in,” he said. “Now I have 700 homes in my backyard.
“Our job is to make sure the growth in the city is good growth. Our job is to look at what’s the best use for that property within the city, for the city as a whole.”
Council members Phillip Deason and Paul Johnson voted against rezoning, while Lee, Bobby Clements, Linda Crowe and Lynn Taylor voted in favor.
Following the vote, citizens who came to the meeting said they intended to keep the issue before the city leaders.
In other business, the council:
• Approved $4,580 for weed control at Moody Commerce Park, to Kellis Vegetation Management, Inc.
• Approved $458 for purchase of two SCBA masks for the fire department, as well as $295 for rope and rescue training.
• Accepted a $4,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for overtime pay in the police department.
• Approved the agreement with St. Clair County for central dispatch, in the amount of $74,173.
• Canceled their regularly scheduled meeting for Nov. 12 because of Veterans Day. Lee set a work session for Nov. 19, with all outgoing and incoming council members.
• Approved the minutes of the Oct. 8 regular meeting.