Commission denies rezoning for multifamily development near Trussville
By Gary Lloyd
The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday voted to deny rezoning land on Chalkville Mountain Road where a company wanted to develop a 56-unit multifamily property for people age 55 and older.
Commissioners Joe Knight, George Bowman and Jimmie Stephens voted to deny rezoning, David Carrington against denying the request and Sandra Little Brown abstained, Knight said.
The land will remain agricultural, Knight said.
Knight said issues he had with the development, which would have been located in unincorporated Jefferson County near Midway Baptist Church on Midway Church Road in Trussville, included one of these developments not being done before in the Southeast, problems getting in and out of the property, no real plan to enforce the 55 and older provision, and the best use of the land being commercial.
Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc. is the company that was planning for the complex to locate in the area. Development Director Andrew Murray said in January that if the commission denied rezoning the land, then Herman & Kittle would take some time to re-evaluate the process before determining its next steps.
Knight said the company could file a lawsuit and take the issue to circuit court, but he didn’t get any indication of that move at Thursday’s public hearing.
The Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission had previously voted against rezoning the property from agricultural to regular apartment status, said Trussville Mayor Gene Melton. The city’s concern with regular apartment status was that the complex would eventually allow residents younger than 55.
Austin Bolton, who owns the land Herman & Kittle was eyeing, said at last week’s Trussville City Council meeting that the land has been dormant for 12 years and has been vandalized in the past. He said the city of Trussville was making a mistake by opposing the rezoning request at the commission’s meeting.
“This is the best use of this property,” Bolton said, noting that the land remaining a “kudzu patch” is an “eyesore.”
Rudy James, who said he works with Bolton and Herman & Kittle, spoke at last week’s city council meeting and asked to council to reconsider its opposition to the development. He said he wanted to know why the council opposed it and what concessions the Herman & Kittle could make to allow the plans to move forward.
“I’m here with my hat in my hands,” James said. “What can we do?”
The multifamily development would have been called Longleaf Bluff.
“Those age 55 and older often want to downsize from their house, decrease their maintenance time and effort, while still being able to live independently,” Murray said last month. “Longleaf Bluff will be the only option in the area that specifically provides an independent living option exclusively for residents 55 and older.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.