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Decatur city leaders face opposition to growth opportunities

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 8:51 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Several residents are expected to speak out against the rezoning of a piece of land in their neighborhood at Decatur City Council.

A developer wants to build 12 townhomes on a plot of land that’s currently zoned for single family homes.

Opposition to build 12 townhomes in Decatur

”You can’t squeeze 25 pounds of potatoes into a small lunch bag,” said one woman who lives on Carridale Street, Andrea Hoffmeier.

She says the street used to be a quaint, family place to live, but now it’s overcrowded and needs improvements. She is not alone in this opinion.

“The bag is going to bust. The potatoes are going to get bruised, and it is not going to be good for anyone involved,” said Hoffmeier.

Developer and owner, Danny Hill want the city to re-zone his land so that he can move forward with his plan to build several townhomes. He says this would be a good thing for the growing city of Decatur.

“I think there is a misconception about what we are doing here. We are building 12 townhouses. They are to be sold individually. They will not be rented,” said Hill.

(SOURCE: Andrea Hoffmeier) Flyer from residents of Carridale in opposition of 12 new townhomes.
(SOURCE: Andrea Hoffmeier) Flyer from residents of Carridale in opposition of 12 new townhomes.(WAFF)

“12 new residences, on a street that is highly stressed. I mean the city needs to fix what is broken first before they give out any increased zoning,” said Hoffmeier.

But, Hill says the townhouses will not impact Carridale.

“There will be no driveways, curb cuts on Carridale. In fact, we are closing up two that were here from the original business. Everything will be rear access. They will come out on Clara Avenue,” said Hill.

Hill says he is shocked by the opposition.

“It is only going to improve the neighborhood and increase the home values in the area. I was just shocked,” said Hill.

Hoffmeier says if this is approved it’s setting a negative precedent for the city to become overcrowded.

“We are at a tipping point. The city of Decatur can do the right thing now. It would not take a moonshot, Rocket City, to make the improvements to count the traffic, provide pedestrian walkways and safe passage for cyclists,” said Hoffmeier.

This plot of land falls in District 4, Decatur City Councilman, Hunter Pepper met with residents before the meeting to hear their concerns.

But, this scenario is not unique. It’s happening all the time and not just in Decatur, across North Alabama.

“It’s sad that we have got a lot of people that want to get on social media and other platforms that say they want to grow our city and we want this and we want that, but as soon as we try to put something there it is a hassle,” said Pepper.

Pepper says the city is losing millions of dollars because they are not keeping up with the growing communities surrounding it.

“I don’t want to sit here and listen to folks say they don’t want to help grow our city. I can’t stand that. It is horrible. We live in a day and age where we need growth. We are losing millions of dollars in funding because we don’t see growth,” said Pepper.

Several people in the community say they don’t want to see apartments or townhomes popping up in their neighborhoods they believe the city should take care of what it already has...

“One thing that I see as a good founding complaint, one people say they want sidewalks, crosswalks, things like that. I see that as a good valid point about the cost of that is going to be millions and millions of dollars per area,” said Pepper.

Pepper says he understands change is hard, but there are limited opportunities for Decatur right now.

“Whenever we have someone that has an opportunity like that… We have to run with it and take it. We really want to grab it and go. Some people don’t want it in their backyard. Well I don’t want it in my backyard either but I want to see my city grow and I’m willing to suffer for it,” said Pepper.

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