Will Waterford residents get new roads?

By GINNY COOPER / Staff Writer

CALERA – The planning commission for the city of Calera held a public hearing Tuesday, June 3 to determine whether a request by Lhoist North America to rezone a parcel of land adjacent to the Waterford development would come to a vote before the city council during its July 7 meeting.

The request, which states the land would be rezoned from a planned unit development district to a heavy industrial district with the restriction the company will not mine the land, would mean the company could put a stockpile of materials on the land. Lhoist is currently in talks to purchase the land from Waterford developer John Reamer.

Approximately 25 Waterford residents attended the hearing, and most were supportive of the request from Lhoist.

As part of the deal, Lhoist North America will withhold a “significant” portion of the payment for the property until Reamer paves the roads in the neighborhood, Laura McAnany, director of operations for Lhoist in Alabama, said.

“As the developer of the property, he is responsible for paving. (Reamer and residents) have been in a legal battle for more than five years,” McAnany said. “We just want to give them something they need already and they’re owed by the developer.”

The gesture is an act of “goodwill” between Waterford residents and Lhoist North America, McAnany said.

Attempts to reach Reamer Building and Development Corporation were unsuccessful.

“We need to do what we need to do to get this community rolling again,” said Clem Muck, a Waterford resident who is in favor of the rezoning.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” said another resident.

The planning commission passed the motion unanimously, with the stipulation that Lhoist must limit berm height and find a way to plant vegetation on the mound during construction as it is “commercially feasible” for the company.

The request for rezoning will be put to a vote at the July 7 City Council meeting.