Wilsonville considers possible marina district

Wilsonville residents could one day see a resort-style marina district along the banks of Lay Lake, planning officials announced as they outlined a draft of the town’s new comprehensive plan.

The plan, completed over the past year by Shelby County Development Services, included guidelines for growth in and around the town of more than 1,500 residents.

While gathering public input for the plan, the development service employees learned Wilsonville residents wanted controlled growth while still maintaining the area’s “small-town feel,” said Emily Womack, a former county employee who worked on the study.

“We are trying to work with the existing developed areas and maintain the Wilsonville you all know and love,” Womack told the crowd of about 20 residents who attended the Oct. 5 meeting.

Because the development service employees said they were trying to maintain about the same housing density around downtown Wilsonville, they recommended focusing most future growth around a proposed marina district off Brothers Avenue slightly southeast of the town’s center.

If constructed, the marina district could include restaurants, resorts, off-water and waterfront houses, a full-service marina and several other developments, said James Ponceti, a former county employee who also worked to develop the plan.

“Your best opportunity for growth would be in this marina village,” Ponceti said. “I think this is really something that could spur growth around Wilsonville and downtown.

“I think there is a developer who would be willing to pursue that area,” Ponceti added. “There are no sewer lines out there right now, but I think there are sufficient incentives for a developer to run them out there.”

Although the town has not yet implemented the comprehensive plan, it will serve as a blueprint for future development in and around Wilsonville, said Mayor Rosemary Liveoak.

“We have to have a plan to get our feet down and encourage the right kind of growth. That’s what this is all about,” Liveoak said, noting the Town Council could vote on the plan in the next few months.

“We have families coming in, and there are no rental houses, apartments or anything like that,” Liveoak added. “So the potential for this growth is definitely there.”