The property located across from Pelham High School off Bearden Road is now zoned for garden homes instead of townhomes after a decision made by the Pelham Planning Commission during a Jan. 14 meeting.
The commission held a public hearing for the approximately 56-acre lot at the meeting to discuss changing the zoning of the area from an R-T Residential Townhouse District to an R-G Residential Garden Home District.
City Engineer Jesse Jowers told the commission that the change would lower the density of units on the hill, which would likely be a good thing for that area. City Council President Rick Hayes and Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said they agreed with Jowers’ comments.
“You are moving in the direction that reduces the density you wouldn’t want to have,” Hayes said. “In my opinion, you wouldn’t want to have townhouses or apartments anywhere that close. Going to an R-G zoning…it’s probably a much better solution than anything what the zoning is today.”
Traffic near Pelham High School was a concern addressed by Planning Commission President Mildred Lanier, and Hayes explained that there has been previous discussion of additional turn lanes in the area.
Hayes added that the only potential issue would be additional traffic on the road, but said the change in zoning is still an improvement to the current R-T situation.
J.R. Adams, of Highpointe Properties, was present to discuss the development. He said traffic was one of the main issues they took into consideration, which is why they applied to change the zoning.
Adams explained that the garden home district would reduce the density of the development by more than half. He also stated that the view from the hill is another reason they wanted to change the zoning.
“You can see this water tower from anywhere, which tells you the type of views you will have from there,” Adams said. “That’s one of the reasons we thought going from R-T to R-G would be better: A little bit larger product take advantage of the big views.”
Adams said he plans on working closely with the city on the development, which will likely consist of about 125 homes with price points in the low $200,000s. Most of the proposed slab lots as well as some lots with basements, which Adams said could reach the $300,000s. Read more…
The Pelham Board of Education today approved the acquisition of 19.1 acres off Highway 52 in the Oak Mountain Business Park as the location of a new elementary school.
The board unanimously approved the $1.7 million purchase of land off Applegate Parkway that will eventually serve as the site of a school for kindergarten through fifth grade. The parkway runs through the Oak Mountain Business Park, which features a collection of office and industrial buildings, and connects Highways 52 and 11.
The board is looking at receiving some land through a donation, while talks are continuing for additional adjoining land to serve the school district.
“The other property we’re looking at will compliment this site,” Superintendent Scott Coefield said after today’s board meeting. “This will be the site of the physical plant” for the new elementary school, he said about the 19 acres.
The district has been planning a new elementary school located east of Interstate 65 to serve the city’s growing population in the Weatherly and Ballantrae neighborhoods, as well as other subdivisions in Pelham’s northeast sector toward Chelsea.
The land purchase arrives as the school district is looking to receive upwards of $40 million in funding for construction of the new school as well as renovations and other improvements in the city’s educational system.
Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes told the board today the municipality is securing $35 million in bond funding. Additionally, school district leaders have indicated plans to get possibly another $5 million in loans for the planned improvements.
“This is very exciting for us,” Hayes told the board today. “It’s a great day for the school board and for everyone else.”
Hayes said the property deal will involve the school board purchasing half the land for $1.7 million and the remaining portion received as a donation. He said the total property under the deal will involve about 20 acres.
The new elementary school will serve the city’s eastern side, while Valley Elementary on Highway 31 will operate in Pelham’s western area as a K-5 institution, Coefield said in an interview today.
As part of the district’s grand improvement plan, Pelham High School will undergo significant renovations and Valley Intermediate will be converted to replace Riverchase Middle School.
As for Riverchase located in the city’s extreme northwest area, the district is “evaluating our options,” Coefield said.
The board approved the purchase agreement with Oak Mountain Business Park LLC as the seller. Alabama Secretary of State records list W. Larry Clayton with an office address in Helena as the company’s registered agent. Hayes said Clayton’s family owns the property.
Hayes said a committee consisting of himself, Coefield, school board President Rick Rhoades, board member Brian Long and the district’s architect and building management company evaluated potential sites.
He noted the benefits of site’s location between Highways 11 and 52 with the connection along Applegate Parkway. “You’ve got a full circle,” he said about traffic flow.
Coefield said he expects the planning process for the new elementary school will include teachers and others to ensure proper class space and room for other purposes. “They’ll get the chance to make sure we don’t mess it up,” he said.
The district has reviewed the site and preliminary environmental test results with the architect and others to ensure the location would be suitable for an elementary school, Coefield said.
Rhoades complimented the district’s action on acquiring the property. “We have some land. Now let’s get a school built,” he said.
Six Shelby County cities are among the best in Alabama for homeowners, according to a list compiled by a national consumer advocacy website.
On its list of the best places for home ownership in Alabama, website Nerdwallet.com named Chelsea first, Calera second, Helena third, Pelham fifth and Alabaster seventh. Leeds, which is partially in Shelby County, ranked 10th on the list.
The list ranked Alabama cities with more than 10,000 residents based on three criteria: Available homes, home affordability and growth in the area.
Nerdwallet touted Chelsea’s growth over the past several years, and said the city’s 2012 population of 10,161 was more than double what it was in 2000.
“Chelsea is in Shelby County, about 20 miles southeast of Birmingham, the largest city in the state,” read the city’s entry on the list. “Residents who live near Birmingham have access to job opportunities all over the region.”
The website also praised Calera’s growth of 11.6 percent from 2010-2012 as the highest on its list.
“Calera High School was recently named the 15th best high school in Alabama by U.S. News and World Report,” read Calera’s entry. “Calera is also home to the Shelby County Airport and features weekly summer farmers markets.”
Nerdwallet said 91.7 percent of homes in Helena are occupied by owners rather than renters.
“Vulcan Materials Co. is one of the city’s largest employers and the company describes itself as the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates — crushed stone, sand and gravel,” read Helena’s entry.
Pelham’s population increased by about 4.8 percent from 2010-2012, and is central to a plethora of offerings, according to the website.
“Pelham is nestled in the foothills of Oak Mountain and is close to Oak Mountain State Park,” read Pelham’s entry. “The Pelham Civic Complex features an ice-skating rink, banquet hall and arena.”
The Pelham City Council approved on second reading a proposed ordinance that rezones nearly 16 acres on Indian Lake Drive for a plan to construct 41 garden homes.
The council gave unanimous approval to the rezoning that involves plans by Highpointe Properties in Pelham to develop the neighborhood. Regions Bank as trustee of the Lois Huckaby Real Estate Trust asked for the rezoning from A-1 Agricultural District to RG Residential Garden Home District.
“This is a very good plan for that property and accepted as so by the planning and zoning board,” Councilwoman Karyl Rice said at tonight’s meeting.
The approval came without any discussion. Previously, the council held a public hearing on June 16 that included some concerns raised about flooding issues in surrounding properties.
Highpointe’s Connor Farmer told council members last month he would install two detention ponds in the proposed neighborhood off Highway 261. During the public hearing he cited hydrology studies that showed a decrease in peak flow from the two ponds during heavy rain compared to current conditions.
Additionally, the city has presented a list of demands that accompany the development plan. Among them: reducing runoff by about 50 percent and creation of a homeowner’s association to maintain the two detention ponds; creating a walking trail and common field area; and constructing a wooden-post fence along Indian Lake Lane.
Also, five parcels along the ridge to the north and west of the property will not be part of the proposed rezoning and their homes will provide a buffer between the garden district and other houses in the area. Of the five parcels, four are vacant and one has a home.
The development plan follows a previous proposal by Harris Doyle Homes Inc. to build 62 garden homes on the property that failed to get a positive recommendation from the Pelham Planning Commission in January.
The January meeting also focused on homeowners’ concerns about flooding in nearby neighborhoods they feared would accompany the property’s development.
The Pelham Planning Commission approved the final plat for a proposed single-family residential subdivision at Ballantrae on Strathaven Drive during an April 10 meeting.
Pelham City Engineer Jesse Jowers reviewed the plat prior to the April 10 meeting and listed several items that needed still needed to be addressed, such as fire hydrant elevation, lane striping and warning sign installation. The developer, Mobley Development, Inc. had already started to address the items prior to the meeting.
“It’s pretty close to done,” Jowers said. “It’s just coordinating the elevation of hydrants with the fire chief and striping, but that’s all there really is.”
The Pelham Planning Commission unanimously approved the final plat subject to the completion of the items Jowers listed.
The Planning Commission also approved the release of seal coat bond of Grey Oaks, sector 1 and sector 2, phase 1. Read more…
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