Map provided by House Consulting for the city of Hoover
Trace Crossings planned industrial zoning 10-10-16
USS Corp. is asking the city of Hoover to amend the Trace Crossings development plan so that land currently zoned for restricted industrial use could only be used for commercial or office property. Part of the land, in blue on the left, is at the intersection of Brock's Gap Parkway and South Shades Crest Road. The other portion is along Stadium Trace Parkway across from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
A large group of residents from Hoover’s Trace Crossings community and other neighborhoods off South Shades Crest Road came to the Hoover zoning board meeting tonight to oppose changes in the Trace Crossings development plan.
U.S.S. Corp. wants to amend the plan so that vacant property currently zoned for restricted industrial use would be rezoned so it could only be used for commercial or office space.
Residents typically favor commercial and office space near residential subdivisions more than industrial zoning, but the vast majority of people who came to tonight’s meeting were against the changes.
The land in question is in two locations. One area is at the intersection of Brock’s Gap Parkway and South Shades Crest Road (on both sides of South Shades Crest Road), and the other is along Stadium Trace Parkway, directly across from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Molly McGregor, a resident of the Chestnut Ridge portion of Trace Crossings who served as a spokeswoman for many of the residents, said the USS Corp. proposal is an outrage.
Residents were willing to embrace a small neighborhood shopping center at the intersection of Stadium Trace and Brock’s Gap parkways, but they do not want to see general commercial development that deep into the Trace Crossings community, McGregor said.
Yes, the new $80 million sports complex being built next to the Hoover Met is going to create more demand for hotel space in Hoover, McGregor said, but hotels and the developments that come with them don’t belong in the middle of neighborhoods. They belong in a commercial corridor, such as John Hawkins Parkway, she said.
Several residents said they fear hotels and other 24-hour businesses will bring more crime to their neighborhoods and the three schools in Trace Crossings. And both Stadium Trace Parkway and South Shades Crest Road already are too congested with traffic, residents said.
Donald Barley, a resident of the Creekside subdivision in Trace Crossings, noted that the Hoover City Council in April of last year already denied U.S. Steel’s attempt to rezone 26 acres at the intersection of Brock’s Gap Parkway and South Shades Crest Road to make way for a Walmart Neighborhood Market. Nothing has changed since that time to make it a better idea now, he said.
“It’s never going to be a good idea,” Barley said.
Warren Kuntz, a resident of the Willow Lakes community off South Shades Crest Road, was the only resident to speak in favor of the proposed changes. He believes the changes might enhance residents’ property values, he said. He also noted that Stadium Trace Parkway is not a residential street.
Justin Armstrong, manager of commercial sales and development for U.S.S. Real Estate, said he can’t understand why any residents would prefer industrial property next to their homes over commercial or office space. Industrial use is not a good fit for the areas in question, he said.
Armstrong noted that a comprehensive planning committee for which McGregor served as chairwoman for the city of Hoover in 2003 recommended the property at the intersection of Brock’s Gap Parkway and South Shades Crest Road be zoned commercial. Armstrong also said a Walmart is no longer in the plans.
Regarding the property along Stadium Trace Parkway, he noted that any buildings would have to be at least 200 feet off the property line and would be down the hill from Chestnut Ridge. “Nobody’s going to be in anybody’s backyard,” he said.
Planning Commission Chairman Mike Wood said residents should understand that the property as currently zoned could be used for warehouses, manufacturing, fabricating, woodworking, assembly plants, print shops or other light industrial uses.
“It’s not like it’s going to stay woods,” Wood said. “It won’t. It’s too valuable a piece of property."
If they successfully defeat commercial and office uses, “they’re rolling the dice,” Wood said in the zoning board’s work session before tonight’s meeting.
McGregor said residents understand the risks, but they believe the land is much more likely to stay unsold and undeveloped if it is zoned for restricted industrial uses.
“We understand the risks to our neighborhoods, our children, our schools and our safety,” she said.
Photo by Jon Anderson
Hoover zoning board 10-10-16
Dozens of Hoover residents showed up at the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, to oppose USS Corp's efforts to amend the Trace Crossings zoning plan.
Zoning board member Sammy Harris said as more houses are built farther down Stadium Trace Parkway, some of those people might want commercial development along Stadium Trace so they won’t have to travel all the way back to John Hawkins Parkway.
Councilman John Lyda, who also sits on the zoning board, said residents tend to buy into development plans better when the developer presents a strong vision for the property and outlines what he would like to see on it.
“Right now, this thing is shrouded in mystery,” Lyda said.
At Wood’s recommendation, the zoning board voted to continue the case until Nov. 14 to give USS Corp. a chance to meet again with residents and try to work out a compromise, with assistance from Hoover planning consultant Bob House. House said he would work with McGregor and Armstrong to set up a meeting.
McGregor at first said residents were not ready to compromise, noting that Armstrong previously had called them “spineless cowards,” but she later agreed to another meeting.