County commission ponders subdivsion regulation changes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Shelby County Commission needs more time to look over new subdivision regulations before their approval, commissioners said Monday night.

The commission heard public comments on the proposed regulations during a hearing at Monday&8217;s regular meeting, but voted to delay action until Jan. 22.

County Commissioner Larry Dillard said he was comfortable with the regulations but didn&8217;t want the commission to act too quickly.

&8220;I&8217;m willing for the commission to go into further study because I&8217;d hate for any of my fellow commissioners to not fully understand [the regulations],&8221; Dillard said. &8220;I&8217;m frustrated that it took us way too long to get subdivision regulations that match our comprehensive plan.&8221;

The proposed regulations would still allow developers to build conventional subdivisions, but with more restrictions on the number of homes.

Added to the mix are two new subdivision types – form-based and conservation models – each laced with incentives for developers to encourage use of green space and homes clustered around neighborhood businesses or institutions.

A handful of developers and homebuilders voiced their concerns over the proposed regulations during the public hearing stage of Monday&8217;s meeting.

The most common point of contention centered around the designation of

&8220;tier 3&8221; property, land identified as the most rural by the scoring system used to determine restrictions under the proposed plan.

Comments suggesting the proposal would halt growth prompted a fiery rebuttal by Ray Hamilton, manager of Shelby County&8217;s Department of Development Services.

&8220;That&8217;s not what the Department of Development Services, Highway Department or the county has any intention to do or to ever do,&8221; Hamilton said.

Rhonda Brantley, president of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, said she would like to see specific models for each of the three tiers and further explanation of the plan in general before endorsing it to members of the GBAHB.

The Shelby County Commission will hold a work session Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. at the County Services Building in Pelham