Pelham residents: New apartments will worsen traffic problems

An artist's rendition of The Grand Reserve apartment complex proposed for Huntley Parkway. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

An artist’s rendition of The Grand Reserve apartment complex proposed for Huntley Parkway. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Several Pelham residents said they were concerned a new apartment development on Huntley Parkway will worsen traffic congestion on the road, while the project’s developers said the impact will be minimal during a Sept. 9 public hearing.

During the public hearing, which the Pelham City Council held after its regular meeting, residents shared their thoughts on the proposed 228-unit Grand Reserve apartment development next to the Publix shopping center on Huntley Parkway.

Charlie Beavers, the attorney for the project’s developer, C&A Enterprises, said the company has been trying to market the property for 10 years, and has had little success because of the land’s topography.

“What it will do for that immediate area, it will bring more housetops to patronize those retailers there,” Beavers said.

Along with the apartments, which Beavers said will mark a $32 million investment in Pelham, C&A also is looking to develop a shopping center across Huntley Parkway from the proposed apartment complex.

Darrell Skipper, who conducted a traffic study of the area, attributed most of the traffic congestion on the road to incorrectly timed traffic signals on Shelby County 52 and only having one right-hand turn lane from Shelby County 52 to Interstate 65.

Several Pelham residents said adding an apartment complex on Huntley Parkway, which serves as a cut-through from Shelby County 52 to Shelby County 11, will worsen the traffic problems.

“Until something is done to alleviate traffic on 52 to 65, it’s not going to get better,” said Pelham resident George Bond.

Debbie Lawson echoed Bond’s comments.

“I’m all for moving forward, (but) I don’t see how this is going to help Pelham,” said Lawson, who lives off Shelby County 11. “With traffic worse than it is now, I don’t see people wanting to move to our part of Pelham.”

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said the apartments currently in Pelham are reputable, and have not been sources of crime.

“Not one of them is a high-crime apartment complex,” Waters said, asking the residents in attendance if they would oppose the development if it consisted of traditional houses.

“The developer put this road in there. It wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for them,” Beavers said of Huntley Parkway. “This is not a negative for anything.”

The Pelham council likely will decide if it will rezone the property to allow the development to move forward during its Sept. 16 meeting.