Alabaster may change guidelines for new townhomes, apartments

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Any new townhomes or apartment complexes built in Alabaster would have to meet more stringent appearance and design guidelines if the city approves changes it is considering to its zoning ordinances.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the matter during its May 6 meeting, and could vote on the matter the same night. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Alabaster City Hall at 1953 Municipal Way.

If approved, the zoning ordinance changes would add stricter appearance regulations for any new multi-family residential or apartment homes built in the city in the future.

New apartment buildings would be required to have masonry exteriors, such as brick and stone, and concrete masonry unit and stucco may be used as accent materials consisting of no more than 10 percent of the exterior wall.

The buildings would also be prohibited from fronting public streets, and parking also would be required to be at the side or rear of the building and accessible from an interior street.

If approved, the changes also would lay out guidelines for the landscaping requirements at new apartment buildings.

The changes also would affect new townhome developments, and would lay out significantly stricter appearance guidelines for them.

If passed, the changes would prohibit more than eight attached units within one group of homes, would require units within each group to vary in height, depth and architectural elements and would require the homes to include masonry exteriors not including vinyl, aluminum or metallic siding.

New townhomes would also be required to be constructed with rear-access two-car parking garages with driveways large enough to accommodate garbage trucks.

“For developments containing more than 20 units, a minimum of 15 percent of the total area shall be dedicated to common space providing either passive or recreation uses,” reads the proposed changes.

Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumow said the changes have been recommended to the City Council by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.