0213 Moon Glow Belcher Hoover PlanningJonathan Belcher, left, president of Signature Homes, addresses the Hoover Planning Commission on Feb. 11 about his company's proposed development around Moon Glow Lake. Pictured are Commission members Sammy Harris and Scott Underwood.
Two hours, multiple presentations and a petition with more than 1,000 signatures weren’t enough to sway the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission away from recommending new development around Moon Glow Lake.
On Feb. 11 in front of approximately 200 opposed area residents, the Commission voted 8-0 to endorse Signature Homes’ proposal and rezone 66 acres off Caldwell Mill Road as Planned Residential Development. The property is currently owned by O’Neal Steel, Inc. and is located just north of Berry Middle School.
If the Hoover City Council approves the rezoning, the development would include 109 new homes that average $400,000 each, said Signature President Jonathan Belcher.
Opposition for the development began when it was first proposed in November 2012, coming primarily from residents of neighborhoods that back up to the wooded area around Moon Glow Lake. Those neighborhoods include The Sanctuary at Caldwell Crossings and Woodford.
Belcher, speaking to the Commission, said Signature Homes had met with members of these communities on three separate occasions and redrafted the plan after each to include voiced concerns. The initial development proposal included plans for 151 homes on 91 acres, 24 of which to be left undisturbed.
The approved proposal, submitted Feb. 4, includes 109 homes on 66 acres, with 28 acres left undisturbed.
“There’s been dozens and dozens of questions at each of our meetings, and this plan shows our best efforts to accommodate each of those requests,” Belcher said.
But residents aren’t satisfied by the amended proposal and brought their points to the Commission during the meeting. From more than a dozen presenters, numerous concerns were identified. Namely:
- Increased traffic on Caldwell Mill Road, Valleydale Road, Jaguar Drive and Acton Road.
- Effect on surrounding property values.
- Increased sediment pollution on nearby neighborhoods and watersheds.
- Increased drainage and erosion from clear cutting.
- Increased stress on utilities.
- Relocation/destruction of wildlife population.
“The intersection of Jaguar Drive and Caldwell Mill Road will be located about 650 feet from the entrance to this new development,” said Lindsey Mardick, vice president of the Inverness Master Homeowners Association and president of the Woodford Homeowners Association. “What measures will be taken to address this potentially dangerous convergence of traffic?”
Signature Homes provided a traffic study prepared by Skipper Consulting Inc. that estimates the new development will produce more than 1,100 trips on and off the property daily. The study was presented by Bob Easley, an environmental consultant and engineer with Alabama Engineering Co, Inc., who said Signature Homes will restripe Caldwell Mill Road to include a left turn into the development and build a right-turn lane to accommodate.
Also in front of the Commission, Easley and Belcher addressed environmental concerns, providing studies that show plans to increase Moon Glow Lake’s reservoir will improve storm water flow in the surrounding watershed. They also affirmed the proposal met with requirements set by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
“A lot of things have been said tonight, but the bottom line is we have far exceeded the zoning requirements,” Dwight Sandlin of Signature Homes said in closing. “We’ve listened and we’ve adjusted our entire conceptual plan. If approved, our community will enhance the lives of 109 people with new homes in Hoover. The unfortunate part is those 109 people can’t be here.”
Members of opposed homeowner associations said they would bring their concerns to the Hoover City Council for the rezoning ordinance’s first reading.
In other business, the Commission:
- Approved plans for 62 more homes in The Preserve as part of the subdivision’s ninth phase of construction.
- Approved for four, 35-foot light towers to be installed on a field behind St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church on Patton Chapel Road. Representatives of the church said John Carroll Catholic’s youth football program would use the facility for night games. They affirmed the PA would not be used after 8:30 p.m., and the lights would automatically shut off at 9:30 p.m.