Planning Commission OKs rezoning for proposed Alabama 119 subdivision

PELHAM – The Shelby County Planning Commission approved a rezoning request at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 2, for a proposed detached condominium development called Lee Branch 119.

The commission approved a request to rezone 13.5 acres at 7455 Cahaba Valley Road from A-1 (agricultural district) to R-4 SD (multiple dwelling special district). Grant McCaleb, development manager with Harris Doyle Homes, said the next step is to prepare and submit engineering plans to the county.

The development proposal includes 64 detached multifamily condominium residences. Each of the 64 buildings would contain three, four or five residential units. Each residential cluster would utilize a shared driveway to access each unit’s two-car garage. An additional 71 parking spaces are included for visitor parking.

Site plans include a clubhouse and swimming pool, two detention ponds, a walking trail with a natural area, mail kiosk and a centralized trash collection enclosure. Children living in the subdivision would enroll in Shelby County Schools and attend schools in the Oak Mountain attendance zone.

The land for the proposed development sits on Alabama 119 with several other residential developments, such as the Retreat at Greystone, Outlook at Greystone Apartments, Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen and Calumet.

One point of contention for the commission centered on traffic concerns. A traffic study, prepared by Skipper Consulting and provided by the applicant, estimates that 75-80 percent of the traffic leaving the subdivision would be turning left onto Alabama 119 toward U.S. 280, and that the development has the potential to generate 640 vehicle trips per day. The study includes the addition of right and left turn lanes in the northbound and southbound lanes of Cahaba Valley Road.

A traffic light is not proposed for the project, which means those exiting the subdivision to turn left onto Alabama 119 would have to wait until traffic is clear in both directions, which is expected to be challenging at peak travel times. Shelby County engineer Randy Cole discouraged the approval of zoning application, mainly because of traffic concerns.

McCaleb said there’s an increased demand for residential developments in the U.S. 280 area and the development won’t create any traffic concerns not already present.

“The demand is there,” McCaleb said. “There’s no product like this on the market. A detached product is safer, gives more privacy and more yard for families.”

The majority of the commission agreed. Planning commissioner Ken Wilder said the development would be compatible with surrounding properties and recommended its approval. Planning commissioner Jay Gunther seconded the motion. Planning commissioners Bill Kinnebrew, Michael O’Kelley, Wilder and Gunther voted in favor the rezoning application, while planning commissioners James Davis and Joe Little opposed the move.