An application to rezone a wooded area off Caldwell Mill Road will not be presented Monday, Dec. 10. Instead, the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission will now hear the proposal at its regular meeting Jan. 14.
Signature Homes, the company responsible for developing 15 communities in the Birmingham area including Chace Lake and Ross Bridge, applied to amend the zoning status of 91 acres of land owned by O’Neal Steel, Inc. surrounding Moon Glow Lake in Hoover, just north of Berry Middle and Spain Park High Schools.
After submitting its plan to the Commission, Signature invited property owners within 500 feet of the proposed development to attend information meetings – twice to its Ross Bridge headquarters and once to Hoover Fire Department Station 7 on Inverness Parkway.
Concerns raised by the audience during the first meeting focused on access to the new development from the Woodford and Caldwell Crossings subdivisions, the amount of clear-cutting that will take place on the site and the amount of buffer space between current subdivisions and the new development.
Since the meetings, residents of Inverness and the surrounding neighborhoods drafted a petition that addresses both property owners O’Neal, Inc. and the Planning and Zoning Commission. The document implores O’Neal not to sell the property and requests the opportunity to develop a plan to compensate O’Neal to maintain it as a “bird watching paradise.” The petition then addresses the Commission and Hoover City Council not to approve rezoning the property for Planned Residential Development (PRD).
The petition states the land in question is “one of the few natural environments left in this densely populated North Shelby County area. This gently rolling property is home to many forms of wildlife both indigenous to Central Alabama and which have migrated here including red fox, white-tail deer, raccoon, opossum, coyote, skunk, beaver, bobcat, owls, wild turkey, red tail hawks – just to name a few.”
Signature Homes president Jonathan Belcher said the company is proposing to develop the area into 151 lots measuring a minimum of 60 feet wide and 110 feet deep. As proposed, the site will feature homes the company projects to cost $300,000-$500,000.
The initial proposed development area is 91 acres, with 24 acres being left undisturbed as buffer space and 12.4 acres being reserved as a possible future school site for Hoover City Schools.
The petition states adding homes and potentially a third school in the area will threaten public safety for drivers on Caldwell Mill Road.
The proposal also includes nine acres in unincorporated Shelby County that Belcher said would be used for an additional 13 homes.
“That will not take place right now because there’s no sense making the petition if Hoover chooses not to approve our request,” Belcher said.
Signature’s application is slated to come before the Planning and Zoning Committee on Jan. 14 at its 5:30 p.m. meeting. Hoover City Councilor John Lyda, who also serves on the Committee, said if the application is approved, it is then sent to the Council for a first reading, which would tentatively be held Jan. 21.