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New plan for controversial Hwy 11 property approved by Trussville P&Z

From The Trussville Tribune staff reports

TRUSSVILLE – Trussville’s Planning and Zoning Board has voted to recommend the rezoning for a controversial plan for a piece of property off Highway 11. The property, which is bordered by homes on Dew Drive and Birch Street, is known as the Hamilton property.

Connor Farmer, the owner of Highpointe Properties, LLC, proposed the new plan during the board’s meeting on Monday, June 10, 2019.

“We looked at what we can do that could meet and compliment the surrounding property,” Farmer said.

Connor Farmer addresses P&Z Board

Several concerned neighbors of the Hamilton property showed up to voice their opinions and to weigh in on what they hope to see in the future.

Bob Parker, who lives on Dew Drive, is concerned about hours of operation for businesses that could move onto the property.

“I’m retired and it really doesn’t matter to me,” Parker said. “But we’ve got a lot of families living on these streets. I would think if you’ve got people making noise at all hours that would be a problem.”

Parker said he is concerned if a bar moves in, it could cause noise issues. He also said he is worried about light pollution. The board said existing ordinances would regulate lighting.

If approved by the city council, the property across the street from Winn-Dixie would be zoned C-2 (Commercial). The plan includes a gas station, a new Trussville City Schools Board of Education building, a community park, footbridges and six to eight lots to be used for commercial use.

Farmer said some of the most valuable subdivisions in Birmingham have the same style convenience stores close to their entrances. He mentioned Greystone, Mount Laurel and Mountain Brook Village.

“It doesn’t look like some of them that are ugly,” Farmer said. “It is attractive and it is nice. I am committed to selling him that store without any worry that it’s going to hurt any of the property that I have around it also.”

Some residents are concerned about potential traffic issues with the development of the property. The committee told Farmer a traffic study would have to be updated with the new plans.

The original proposal for the rezoning of the property included upscale, residential garden homes. That plan did not sit well with some residents in nearby neighborhoods. Farmer said he is willing to meet adjacent property owners in the middle, as long as changes are feasible. He has identified green spaces that would be kept and he has placed qualifiers on Lot 3, in his proposal.

Concerned resident Kristie Jones asked that the P&Z Board place qualifiers on more than just Lot 3.

“Thank you, guys, for listening to the community and coming up with a different plan that fits what the community has been saying,” Jones said. “…I think at this time it would be appropriate to include qualifiers for all C-2 property, not just the property next to the school board.”

The board agreed that it would be best to place more qualifiers on three of the lots on the property. The board worked with Farmer on expanding those qualifiers and restrictions.

Restrictions on the property, if zoned C-2, are as follows:

  • Zoning will be restricted to a maximum of eight lots.
    Stovall said the markup of the property includes six lots, but two of them could be split if needed.
  • A park will be created by Highpointe that will include a walking trail, picnic tables, open fields and shade trees. The park would be gifted to the city of Trussville. The park is contingent on the city of Trussville agreeing to accept and upkeep the property. Highpointe also pointed out parts of the park may have to be used for water retention.
  • Highpointe Properties, LLC, would exchange the BOE property for a larger lot for the construction of offices.
  • Lot 3, which would sit between the BOE property and the gas station, would be restricted in its use from fast food restaurants with a drive-thru (with the exception of coffee shops), convenience stores, massage parlors, auto repair businesses, carwash businesses, businesses that sell automobiles, ATVs, marine vehicles or mini-warehouses. Financial institutions with a drive-thru component do not fall under the restrictions of this provision.
  • Lots 1, 5 and 6, would be restricted in use from convenience stores, massage parlors, auto repair businesses, carwash businesses, businesses that sell automobiles, ATVs, marine vehicles or mini-warehouses. Financial institutions with a drive-thru component do not fall under the restrictions of this provision.
  • Highpoint Properties, LLC, would work with DOT officials and adjacent property owners to install a traffic signal at the entrance of the property.
    Stovall said DOT would ultimately have to agree with the need for a light.
  • The convenience store planned for the property will have an architectural style that would include a pitched roof with asphalt shingles or a pitched standing seam metal roof on the store and canopy. It would also have an all brick or rock exterior and would have all brick or rock columns.

A representative for the developer, David Stovall, said the original plan would’ve, immediately, nearly doubled property values in the Dew Gardens subdivision.

The majority of residents at the P&Z Board meeting said they like the new plan better than the previous plan.

If the city ultimately approves the rezoning plan, all stipulations would stand, even if Highpointe Properties, LLC, backed out. Stovall said if the city does not approve the new rezoning plan, the developers will go back to the original plan with mixed residential and commercial zoning.

The Trussville City Council will consider the rezoning during its July 9, 2019 meeting.

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