Signature Homes and Riverwoods Holdings plan to put 1,150 houses on 1,523 acres just southwest of the planned 500-house Lake Wilborn development at the end of Stadium Trace Parkway. The blue area here is Lake Wilborn, while the yellow area is Blackridge.
The Hoover City Council on Monday night voted 6-1 to rezone 1,523 acres in southwest Hoover to make way for an 1,150-house development called Blackridge.
Signature Homes and a company called Riverwoods Holdings plan to build the houses on property just southwest of the 500-house Lake Wilborn community planned at the end of Stadium Trace Parkway.
The land previously was zoned for either agricultural use or not zoned at all, so following Monday night’s vote to rezone the property, the developers can come forward with preliminary plans to start subdivision development.
Signature Homes already is working to build a 100-acre lake on the property, the company’s president, Jonathan Belcher said.
When this property was annexed into the city in 1993 and 1994 with another 900 acres, city officials promised the developers they could build 2.25 houses per acre, for a total of 5,420 houses, Belcher said. That same ratio would have allowed 3,382 houses on the Blackridge property, he said.
Photo by Jon Anderson
Jonathan Belcher 6-6-16
Signature Homes President Jonathan Belcher talks to the Hoover City Council about the 1,523-acre Blackridge development on Monday, June 6, 2016.
However, developers decided to decrease the density of the development and build only 1,150 houses. They initially asked that the city reserve 1,232 of the “lost” homes for other property owned by Signature in Hoover, but that request was eliminated.
Belcher said that “while it’s still a large community, it’s one-third of what could be built on the property” under the annexation agreement.
Belcher said he anticipates the Blackridge community will add about 460 students to Hoover schools, including 170 to 180 students at Hoover High. However, the decreased density means there will be an estimated 815 fewer students than there would have been under the density allowed by the annexation agreement, Belcher said.
Plus, the annexation agreement required the developers to provide a site for a school for every 1,800 homes. Since this development will not have 1,800 homes, a school site will not be required yet. However, it doesn’t eliminate a potential future school site because there is still other annexed land that is not a part of Blackridge, Belcher said.
Including this development, the city as a whole has almost 6,000 houses on the books that are yet to be built, Belcher said. Blackridge will account for about 20 percent of those, he said.
Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy pointed out to the council Monday night that if all of those homes are built in the next 10 to 15 years as projected, there would be an estimated 5,288 high school students in Hoover City Schools.
The maximum capacity at the two existing high schools is 5,372 students, but that would mean having every seat in the two schools filled every day, Murphy said. Hoover school officials would much prefer to use “optimal capacity” numbers, and the optimal capacity of the two current high schools is 4,834, Murphy said. So if all of those homes are built, the district would be “significantly over optimal capacity” at the high school level unless a new high school is built or more space is added at the existing high schools, she said.
Photo by Jon Anderson
Kathy Murphy 6-6-16
Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy talks to the Hoover City Council about the impact of new housing developments on the school system during a council meeting on Monday, June 6, 2016.
Murphy said she looks forward to having an opportunity for city officials, school officials and developers to all sit down together and discuss long-term strategic planning and the impact that any growth and development has on the school district.
“I’m very appreciative of developers when they share with us, but there really is a difference in being informed and in being engaged,” Murphy said.
She hopes everyone can be thoughtful that “what happens in our city has a tremendous impact on us as a school district,” she said. “Every home that’s built has that impact on us.”
School officials estimate the school system gains one child from every 2.73 homes, Murphy said.
“All developments do have a residual impact on us as we’re trying to educate those children,” she said.
Hoover planning consultant Bob House pointed out that the city of Hoover charges every builder a $1,500 “front-door” building permit fee and sends that money to the school system.
The developers of Blackridge have agreed to provide an additional $1,500 for every house in Blackridge to the city, House said. However, the city has not designated that extra $1,500 per house to go to the school system, House said.
Bluff Park resident Curt Posey asked how much the city will get in property taxes from the Blackridge development. Belcher said the average home value should be in excess of $500,000 or $600,000.
Hoover Finance Director Robert Yeager said a $500,000 home in Shelby County would generate $321 for the city and $1,639 for the Hoover school system each year. If each home had two vehicles valued at $15,000, the school system would get another $180 per home per year, Yeager said.
At complete buildout, Blackridge would generate more than $2 million a year for the Hoover school system and more than $370,000 for the city, according to Yeager's calculations.
Using the school system's estimate of 421 children, that would mean the school system would receive roughly $4,969 per student in property taxes from this development. Currently, citywide the school system receives about $4,800 per student in property taxes, Yeager said.
The annexation agreements for the Blackridge property also require the developers to provide 29 acres for a park, but Belcher said Signature is agreeing to donate more than 60 acres to the city for use as a park. That land actually is in the adjacent Lake Wilborn community because Blackridge will be a private gated community with private streets, and public parks must have public access.
The Blackridge developers also have agreed to build a fire station in the community when the Fire Department deems one is needed.
Councilman John Lyda asked House what the ramifications for the city would be if it did not approve the rezoning request. House said every landowner has a constitutional right to develop their property, but “it’s the city’s job to determine how to develop it, what is the most appropriate use of the property.”
Councilman Joe Rives said he voted in favor of the rezoning because the developers have a right to develop their property, “and it looks like they’re going to develop it in a very responsible manner.”
Homes of that size will increase revenue for the city, Rives said.
Councilman John Greene, the only councilman to vote against the rezoning, said he is not in favor of any additional residential construction in Hoover at this time because of the additional burden it places on the school system, city services, and (in this instance) traffic problems on South Shades Crest Road.
In other business Monday night, the council:
- Rezoned about 7 acres next to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium from an agricultural district to a community business district to allow for the construction of a building for the new Hoover Sportsplex.
- Rezoned four lots in the 3400 block of Sierra Drive from a neighborhood shopping district to a community business district to provide an additional parking area for the Tameron Honda automobile dealership.
- Amended the city’s business regulations to require door-to-door peddlers to get a permit and badge from the city and to restrict door-to-door sales in residential areas to the hours between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., or sundown, whichever is earlier, on Monday through Saturday. Solicitations made by political candidates, school groups and local affiliates of nationally recognized charities would be exempt.
- Amended the city’s 2016 budget to allow the Hoover Library Board to complete a $97,449 renovation project in the Hoover Library Theatre with money previously designated for other projects, including installation of an awning in the children’s play area and various lighting enhancements.
- Appointed Bob Brown and Jim Brush to the Hoover Board of Zoning Adjustments.
- Declared property at 2228 Tal Brook Road to be a public nuisance due to weeds and/or tall grass.
- Designated Aug. 5-7 as a back-to-school sales tax holiday, exempting people from having to pay city sales and use taxes on clothing items costing $100 or less, computers, computer software and school computer supplies costing $750 or less, and noncommercial purchases of school supplies, school art supplies and school instructional materials up to $50 per item. The Legislature already exempted the state portion of sales taxes for the same purposes during that weekend.
- Declared at least 12 city vehicles as surplus to be sold at auction and four Harley-Davidson motorcycles as surplus to be sold to other law enforcement agencies.
This article was updated at 9:54 a.m. to correct information about how much property tax revenue the Blackridge development is estimated to bring to the city of Hoover and the Hoover school system.