Residents balk but re-zoning approved for North Shelby subdivision

Published 5:07 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

NORTH SHELBY – A 63-lot subdivision will be developed near the intersection of Caldwell Mill Road and Indian Crest Drive in North Shelby County after the Shelby County Planning Commission approved re-zoning for the site at a contentious meeting on Monday, Feb. 4.

A site proposal for Rushing Farms was presented along with a request to re-zone the 63-acre property from E-1 Single Family Estate District to E-2 SD Single Family Estate Special District from Brooks Harris of Harris Doyle Homes.

While E-1 zoning requires lot sizes of at least an acre, the E-2 zoning will allow the developer to include some lots that are smaller than an acre.

The lot sizes, increased traffic in the area and stormwater runoff were among the concerns voiced by residents of the area.

The Commission’s meeting room overflowed with people interested in the re-zoning decision along with another case heard by the Commission (a denied re-zoning request for 8.9 acres off Valleydale Road to develop a senior independent living community).

Residents filled every available seat, sat on the floor, lined the walls and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the back of the room and then out into the hallway.

When Commission Chairman Jim Davis asked who would like to speak against the Rushing Farms property re-zoning, most of those in attendance raised their hands.

But the first person allowed to speak in opposition to the development was Indian Springs Village Engineer Frazier Christy, who spoke to many of the concerns held by those at the meeting.

“We don’t presume to tell you what to do,” Christy said but asked the Planning Commission to give “careful consideration” to the proposal.

To conclude his presentation, Christy pointed at a map of the development on a projection screen and said, “Every one of these could be 1-acre lots,” to an ovation from those in attendance.

Rushing Farms borders Indian Springs Village but is in unincorporated Shelby County and thus subject to the decision of the Planning Commission, which voted 4-2 in favor of the re-zoning with one abstention.

The developer said two detention ponds will reduce the site’s current stormwater runoff by 40 percent and 23 percent at the locations of the ponds, which exceeds the county’s regulations for new developments.

Officials estimated that about 57 lots could have been developed at the site without a change in zoning.

The developer said the re-zoning was requested because, once roads were mapped based on the site’s topography, slightly smaller lots were more reasonable.

Also, Harris said the smaller lot sizes will allow for the addition of walking trails, common areas, green spaces and more buffer space between new houses and Caldwell Mill Road, for example.

Harris said he worked with county officials to develop the plan.

“We’ve worked very, very hard to develop a site that is harmonious with its surroundings,” he said.

Access to the development will be from the Caldwell Mill Road intersection with Cahaba Valley Trace (where a three-way intersection will become four-way) and off New Hope Mountain Road.