By Gary Lloyd
JEFFERSON COUNTY — The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday voted 3-2 to rezone land on Chalkville Mountain Road from agricultural to institutional, paving the way for an age-restricted apartment building.
Commissioners Sandra Little Brown, David Carrington and George Bowman voted for the rezoning. Voting against it were Joe Knight and Jimmie Stephens.
Knight said the project is a Section 42 development, in which the developer gets tax credits. He said his problem isn’t with the concept, but with how the age restriction will be enforced, the fact that it will be developed on the side of a mountain with one way in and out, the view overlooking a shopping center and no amenities such as a park or sidewalks.
“I just don’t know that it’ll be a big hit,” Knight said.
The Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended in October that the approximately 4.5 acres just outside the Trussville corporate limits at 5841 Chalkville Mountain Road be rezoned.
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved of the move with contingencies and covenants. The contingencies are that there is approved road access from the city of Trussville, a letter from the Center Point Fire District certifying coverage of the development as proposed and approval of a preliminary drainage study by the Department of Roads and Transportation.
Trussville Mayor Gene Melton went to Thursday’s meeting to voice the city’s opposition to the rezoning.
This wasn’t the first time this 56-unit age-restricted housing development came up for this land. In February 2013, the Jefferson County Commission voted to deny rezoning the land where Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc. wanted to develop a 56-unit multifamily property for people age 55 and older. With that vote, the land remained agricultural.
Knight said at the time that the issues he had with the development 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. Development Director Andrew Murray said in January 2013 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.
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 in January 2013. “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.