Public hearing raises flooding, traffic concerns

The Pelham City Council held a public hearing regarding the rezoning of 15.8 acres off of Indian Lake Drive on June 16. (Contributed)

The Pelham City Council held a public hearing regarding the rezoning of 15.8 acres off of Indian Lake Drive on June 16. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Pelham residents voiced flooding and traffic concerns during a June 16 public hearing regarding the rezoning of 15.8 acres on Indian Lake Drive near Pelham’s northern border.

The 15.8 acres in question are currently zoned A-1 Agricultural District. AFK Properties LLC. applied to rezone the land to RG Residential Garden Home District in order to build a 41-home development. The Pelham Planning Commission held a public hearing and approved the rezoning of the property during a June 12 meeting.

During the June 16 public hearing, several residents of Stratford Circle, located off of Shelby County 261 and south of the Indian Lake Drive property, voiced strong concerns about increased water runoff from the possible development leading to flooding in their community.

“If the (flooding) problem is fixed, that would be great,” 21-year resident of Stratford Circle Alana LeCroy said. “But, if it’s not, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”

Fellow Stratford Circle resident Joe Bruno echoed LeCroy’s sentiment saying, “keep the water off of us, that’s all we ask.”

Mike Watts, a resident of Indian Lake Trail, raised the possibility of increased traffic in the caused by the development and requested a new traffic light on Shelby County 261.

City Council President Rick Hayes addressed Watts’s concern regarding traffic along Shelby County 261, agreeing the potential development would increase traffic in the area and add to already existing traffic problems.

“I would support a number of changes to that road strongly and loudly,” Hayes said, although he explained an increase in traffic due to the potential development would likely not move the state to add a traffic light to the road.

Rezoning of the Indian Lake Drive property was brought before the city previously and was the subject of two public hearings held by the Planning Commission on Dec. 12 and Jan. 9.

The original plan called for a 62 home development and the rezoning of more than 21 acres. The Planning Commission failed to approve the original request with a 3-3 vote during a Jan. 9 meeting.

The property came before the Planning Commission for rezoning approval again on June 12 as the project had been assumed by a new developer and changes were made to the plan addressing traffic and flooding.

“We looked at what the potential problems were with the project and what we could do differently that would hopefully please people and be financially feasible,” developer Connor Farmer said of the new plan reducing the lot count from 62 to 41.

Additionally, the new plan calls for two detention ponds rather than one, which studies show cut the amount of rainwater runoff from the property “in half,” Farmer said.

“Building these houses isn’t going to increase the amount of water,” Hayes said, explaining the development and detention ponds will work to slow runoff. “That is the key to fixing this (flooding) issue right now.”