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Group ‘serious’ about mixed use development for downtown Trussville

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — It’s a project that could help kickstart the revitalization of downtown Trussville.

Officials from the Trussville City Council, Planning and Zoning Board, Downtown Redevelopment Authority and Design Review Committee on Thursday heard from a group about a possible mixed use senior housing development for downtown Trussville.

The meeting focused on a possible amendment to the planned unit development portion of the city’s zoning ordinance, which could pave the way for a mixed use development.

If approved, the amendment would allow a planned unit development on sites of four acres or more when situated within the downtown district or the transition district. The acreage restriction may not end up as part of the approval.

Johnston Design Group’s Scott Johnston speaks to Trussville officials Thursday at Trussville City Hall.
photo by Gary Lloyd

Real estate developer Aaron Conley, Greenville, S.C.-based Johnston Design Group’s Scott Johnston and The Cottages President Cliff White presented their plans and answered questions Thursday about the proposed development, which would be located on the six-acre Wheeler property beside Captain D’s in the downtown Trussville area. If the development eventually happens, the historic home on the property would come down.

“We really like this town,” White said.

The plan would be for The Cottages, a Huntsville-based senior living community, to construct a mixed use senior housing development in the downtown Trussville area. White called it an “innovative product,” which would include an independent living space, assisted living space, small storefronts, a restaurant, a bike trail near Pinchgut Creek and a small park. Johnston said it would have a “retail town center kind of feel.” The mixed use development would be pedestrian oriented and would work with the city’s downtown master plan. The goal of the development would be “to engage” the whole community, not just the senior living community, Conley said.

The assisted living space would likely be for 33 people, and the independent living for between 75 and 95 people. The Cottages has locations in Decatur, Florence, Hartselle, Hoover, Huntsville, Montgomery, Mountain Brook and Russellville, as well as one location each in Mississippi and Tennessee.

“We are serious about doing this,” Conley said.

According to a draft of the ordinance, the planned unit development is designed to permit the “flexible development of comprehensively planned projects which permit one or more uses to be developed on a tract of land, taking into consideration the compatibility of specific uses with the surrounding uses in accordance with an approved master development plan.”

Trussville’s Planning and Zoning Board will hold a public hearing about the zoning ordinance amendment Monday, July 14 at 6 p.m. at Trussville City Hall. If the Planning and Zoning Board approves the amendment, it will then go before the Trussville City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.

The Trussville City Council last year adopted a new downtown master plan. The main component of the new revitalization plan involves a major redesign of downtown Trussville, with the primary focus being placed on road construction and commercial property. The downtown area extends from Kay Avenue on the west side to the Cahaba River on the east side. It also extends north of U.S. Highway 11 to Hewitt Street and down to the railroad tracks on the south side of downtown.

Contact Gary Lloyd at news@trussvilletribune.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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