Westover to get population boost from growth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006

A population boost from 1,200 to 7,800 would have seemed impossible for the town of Westover when it first incorporated in 2001.

But with six subdivisions in various stages of development, such a population increase is not only possible but is projected in the town during the next 12 years.

Westover Mayor Mark McLaughlin was one of those who pushed for a comprehensive plan to prepare for such coming growth. And he made the projection last Thursday.

McLaughlin was joined recently by Bill Spratlin, Buzz Ingle, Johnny Davis, Lynal Chappell, Frank Spencer, Lisa Olive and Mitch McKell for the groundbreaking of the new Westover Park subdivision.

Also on hand were Westover Councilmembers Annette Tyler and Jeanne Champion-Fisch.

According to information provided by McLaughlin, the new subdivision will be built on 207 acres between County highways 51 and 55.

The subdivision was approved for a maximum of 1,024 lots including 793 40-foot lots and 231 townhome lots.

The first phase, however, includes 38 acres with 80 50-foot lots and 95 40-foot lots.

A common area adjacent to an existing creek will allow for walking trails and a playground in a natural setting.

Developed by Westover Development LLC, McLaughlin said the new subdivision would preserve existing streams as well.

He said the subdivision would be located almost directly across from Union United Methodist Church.

But Westover Park is not the biggest subdivision in Westover&8217;s future nor is it the first.

McLaughlin said Chelsea Square, a 30-lot subdivision, is also being developed and is the only subdivision completely grandfathered in the young town. Units are being built and sold there at present, he said.

Another small subdivision being developed is Carden Crest. McLaughlin said it is slated to include 30 homes and is being developed at Old Highway 280 and Slimp Egg Farm.

McLaughlin said that subdivision came in after Westover adopted subdivision regulations but before the town had zoning regulations in place.

He said the town is working with the developer on zoning variance issues.

Cotswald, a 10-lot subdivision will be also be located off Old Highway 280, McLaughlin said.

And Willow Oaks, located south on County Highway 55, is being developed by Connor Farmer, according to McLaughlin.

The mayor provided information which shows the subdivision, located south of Rock School Road, will include 93 acres and 155 lots.

But the biggest development in Westover&8217;s future will be Hanbury, developed by Westervelt Realty Inc., a subsidiary of Gulf States Paper Corporation.

According to the concept proposed by Westervelt Realty Inc., this subdivision will be located south of Highway 280 in a rural setting.

Some 40 percent of the project acreage will be preserved in common areas, open spaces and parks, according to developers.

Trails will also be developed in the linier areas to allow homeowners to move easily through the development and enjoy the natural setting.

Hanbury will feature 1,840 units to be developed over the next 12 years.

The range of lots will be from 20,000 square feet with a density of 1.5 dwellings per acre to townhomes with a density of 10 dwellings per acre.

McLaughlin noted that Westervelt has also donated 19.9 acres of land for a school.

Currently there is no school in Westover; however, with the population increase that is inevitable with the construction, a school will be necessary at some point.

McLaughlin said the new developments are following the town&8217;s comprehensive plan with limited access to U.S. Highway 280.

And he said the town is hoping to limit such access to one per mile.

&8220;People are a little apprehensive (of the coming growth), but see the value in our planning and how these subdivisions fit within our comprehensive plan,&8221; McLaughlin said. &8220;We&8217;ve been saying big growth is coming.&8221;

McLaughlin said developers have embraced the town&8217;s comprehensive plan.

&8220;It&8217;s been good for us to be able to give them a tangible document,&8221; he said.

Also when asked directly, McLaughlin said he has no business relationship with any of the developers and has not sold them any property.

McLaughlin noted that the town of Westover is also in the process of developing its own park on town-owned property near city hall.

He said plans for the five-acre park call for one or two play field areas, two pavilions and a walking trail.

He said the park is being developed in cooperation with Shelby County