MADISON, AL (WAFF) - Residents of neighborhoods near Madison's proposed Town Madison development district called for answers from the city council on just what will be built in the development and how it will impact nearby subdivisions.
"What's going behind my house?" asked Doug Stork. "Not a clue."
Stork's home in the Mountain Brook subdivision off Zierdt Road amongst the cotton fields and forests on which the first development in the Town Madison district is to take place.
Work crews have been getting ready for groundbreaking ceremonies in the 700-acre district south of I-565, to be attended by Governor Robert Bentley. Huntsville Developer Louis Breland and Florida development company Sembler Company have indicated the eastern 100 acres of the district will be developed into housing and a large scale retail shopping area to be accessible via a new 565 interchange.
Jonathan Pierce of the Mountain Brook Homeowners Association spoke to the city council, expressing alarm over the apparent speed toward work in the district.
"We are baffled," Pierce said in remarks to the council, "by the invitation delivered to our president to attend (the) ground breaking ceremony. I ask this council to consider why we are asked to attend a publicity event before Mr. Breland has ever even made accessible to us the development plans, or before he had his final development plans approved by the city."
"What are they building back there?" asked Stork. "Nobody seems to know. We keep hearing it's going to be a mall. It's going to be some sort of housing. We've seen little artists' conceptions of what it's going to be on their website but we have no clue."
Council members insist no decisions have yet been made, notwithstanding an abundance of rumors.
"There's a roaring discussion on Facebook right now about what stores are coming, and we don't even know that," said council president Tommy Overcash.
Overcash and Council Member D.J. Klein met with community representatives and insisted there is ample time for neighbors to weigh in and potentially influence some aspects of the development.
"There will be planning and zoning meetings where they'll take up site plans and rezoning requests and as those processes move forward there'll be plenty of time for input," Overcash said.