Hoover’s growth comes into question

As municipalities and the county continue to hold town hall meetings, it’s becoming clear that many of the same complaints are being heard.

What are the cities and the county doing about overcrowded schools and roads? What can residents do to stop large subdivisions from landing in their wooded, peaceful and rural backyards? Those are some of the questions most often heard.

Another such mantra of irked residents is the City of Hoover’s continued growth.

Residents at town hall meetings have described Hoover as an out-of-control, growing monster (not my words, but theirs) that seeks to eat up unincorporated Shelby County for its own benefit.

At the Indian Springs Town Hall meeting last Tuesday, Indian Springs residents and surprisingly some non-Indian Springs residents in attendance voiced their opinion of Alabama’s now sixth largest city.

Many residents in Indian Springs and the North Shelby area are still up in arms over the decision of the Hoover City Council to approve a developer’s request for zoning enabling a new Publix grocery store to become a reality along Caldwell Mill Road next to the Altadena South subdivision.

The council also approved annexing in the Valleydale Village shopping center on Valleydale Road which is adjacent to the Publix site.

Regency, the developer, plans to combine the two areas into one large shopping complex.

The Altadena South neighbors have for months fought the annexation, saying Hoover is reneging on the promise of a 125-foot buffer by a previous council.

Hoover officials denied they were bound by the buffer.

Seeking a compromise, the council voted to provide a 65-foot buffer and have the developer dig a 20-foot hole in which the Publix will sit.

Having the Publix sit in a hole may decrease the visibility of the grocery store to neighbors but they know that it will add Wal-Mart-like traffic to the once-rural area.

Many North Shelby residents are afraid Hoover will continue to annex in large chunks of land to develop commercially, since the sales tax generated would pay for the city’s schools and infrastructure.

One unincorporated North Shelby resident asked Indian Springs residents at the meeting if they would consider growing Indian Springs instead of watching Hoover’s unwanted advances.

Indian Springs could annex in their neighbors and chunks of land and have more control over the area.

One couldn’t imagine two more different cities. Indian Springs was created in the early 1990s with intentions of slowing growth and keeping ranches and large estate lots as the norm.

To their credit, Hoover has a growth plan, whether you like it or not.

Hoover rarely annexes in a middle or lower class area because of the fact that adding homes means adding students to their schools.

The city has no desire to add students in an area not generating commercial tax dollars. They don’t want to further overwhelm their schools and lower the quality of education. Growing commercially pays for itself and Hoover knows that.

The residents of the Atadena South subdivision now unfortunately know that fact, too