By Hannah Curran, Editor
TRUSSVILLE — Trussville residents voiced their concerns about the Glendale Farms at Carrington proposed development at the Planning and Zoning meeting on Monday, April 11. The Planning and Zoning Committee sent the planned unit development (PUD) back to Trussville City Council with a negative recommendation.
The proposed development was approved with stipulations by Planning and Zoning earlier this year. But after making changes in the PUD during workshop presentations to the City Council, the plan was sent back to P&Z for consideration.
Upon reviewing the changes and hearing citizens concerns, P&Z reversed course and voted 5-4 against the proposed neighborhood. Developers can still choose to take the plan the City Council which has the final say.
Councilman Ben Short who serves as liaison to P&Z questioned developers on multiple discrepancies between the written plan and the PUD rendering.
Ron Hill, current president of Carrington Lakes Homeowners Association (HOA), expressed his concerns about Glendale Farms Development in relation to Carrington Lakes.
“It has been my experience that if a presentation is carefully worded, beautifully structured, and so one-sidedly designed to appeal to a target audience to the point of being too good to be true, it often is not true and likely contains gross exaggerations,” Hill said. “We have spent a significant amount of time studying, hearing, and considering the continuously evolving plan for Glendale Farms from the developer, engineer, and consultant and have some serious concerns.”
Related Story: Developers of Glendale Farms at Carrington discussed potential neighborhood design at city workshop
Hill believes the very eloquent marketing efforts to the Planning and Zoning Committee from the developer have created apparent ambiguity. He said that Carrington Lakes is realistic and understands a project needs to make money. Still, they do not want the developer’s profit motive to cost residents money by inserting irreparable harm and uncertainty into their real estate market and subsequently threaten citizens’ collective investments once this developer is out of the picture.
“The developer has reluctantly revealed during direct questioning the planned phasing of this project that gives preference to high-density housing that comprises approximately 70 percent of project revenues,” Hill said. “The developer has attempted to show the value of this project to Trussville, but we are confident that this project does not benefit the city and the 800 plus households and 2,000 plus people I represent near as much as it does the developer and his partners, if any.”
On behalf of the residents of Carrington, Hill requested the Planning and Zoning meeting to consider, address, and hold Glendale Farms developer accountable so that citizens’ significant financial investments and tax dollars will not be wasted and compromised by excessive greed:
“We want any requirements of this Board to be binding on the current and any future owner of the affected property,” Hill said. “We do not want any cottages, townhomes, brownstone, or other similar high-density housing in Glendale Farms… We want the developer to be mandated to begin construction of Sweet Pea Road and Mary Road when 50 percent of the planned lots in Glendale Farms receive their Certificates of Occupancy from the city, and these roads need to be completed prior to the development receiving 65 percent of the project’s planned Certificates of Occupancy… We believe it is an irrelevant negotiating ploy to donate land for a public school in the Glendale Farms development.”
Many residents shared concerns regarding how the density of the development would create problems for Carrington. Lakeside Terrace resident, Bonnie Hicks, said she is worried about the traffic traveling through Carrington and impacting Highway 11.
“You’re talking about eight to 900 cars, just with the residents; that doesn’t count the school traffic,” Hicks said. “Now, I’m not opposed to developments at all, but I just don’t see this as the right development for that location. ”
Missy Lane resident, Allison Nichols-Gault, said this development would “unnecessarily and significantly contribute to air, water, and light pollution.”
“This development is not at all in keeping with the character of the surrounding area, and certainly not of Carrington, whose name, road, and interests are being used to the economic advantage of this developer,” Nichols-Gault said. “Stating the obvious, Carrington is not a neighborhood of townhouses, rowhouses, brownstones, and zero hotline cottages.”
Nichols-Gault said the property is better suited for estate-sized lots and/or mini-farms, and the economic benefit to the city would be comparable to this development.
“There’s already so much residential and commercial property remaining to be developed along and within the existing subdivisions down Highway 11,” Nichols-Gault said.
Another Trussville resident voiced their concerns regarding the Glendale Farms at Carrington proposed development impact the surrounding areas environmentally.
“I’m concerned mainly about the creek that flows through there, the natural area that eventually makes its way to the Cahaba,” Alex Dowell said. “I look at Trussville as the headwaters of the Cahaba, and we have a responsibility to the whole river system. So I don’t want to see damage from any development in Trussville.”
Included in the proposed development are approximately 20 acres to be donated to Trussville City Schools. While the TCS Board of Education hasn’t publicly discussed the location for a fourth elementary school, the developer’s plan showed detailed drawings for buildings and parking and repeatedly referred to input they have received from the BOE.
According to comments from developers in multiple public meetings, the elementary school would house 1,000 students and school officials told him that they could “make it work” by building two stories.
Superintendent Pattie Neill asked board members to “fast track” a new school in a BOE meetings last fall but never mentioned a specific location. Board members made no comments and had no questions during the BOE meeting.
Public input and comments on the location of a new elementary school have not been sought by the TCS BOE.
Grady Morrison, Enclave Place resident, expressed his concerns about if the PUD was the right location for another elementary school to be built.
“The school is needed, and it’s desired, but at what expense,” Morrison said. “It’s been mentioned that the schools have experienced overcrowding already, and it seems like this development is going to contribute to that problem and then, in turn, be the hero for providing some sort of resolution.”
Morrison said if a school is desired in this location, then the entire property should be donated to build “something unique for Trussville City Schools.”