Alabaster enacts stricter guidelines for new townhomes, apartments

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – New apartment complexes and townhomes built in Alabaster now have to meet stricter guidelines, after the city made changes to its zoning ordinance during an early May meeting.

Council members voted unanimously during their May 6 meeting to make the zoning ordinance changes. The vote came after a public hearing on the matter, during which nobody spoke for or against the changes.

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

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

The changes also will lay out guidelines for the landscaping requirements at new apartment buildings.

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

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

New townhomes will 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,” read the proposed changes.

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