New Jones Valley apartments approved after facing opposition from area residents
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Some Jones Valley residents say they were slighted when the Huntsville Planning Commission approved a new 220-unit apartment complex near their homes.
The complex will feature 11 three-story units built at the intersection of Mile Post Road and Garth Road. It will be part of the Lendon development.
Nearly 100 nearby neighbors packed Tuesday night’s Planning Commission meeting to oppose the new complex and wanted to speak their minds. State regulation allowed the Planning Commission to not take public comment.
The new apartment complex will be built on 41 acres of land, which is part of the Lendon development, a Planned Unit Development (PUD).
The original PUD plans were approved in 2014. The plans included zoning for various transacts or T zones. The location of the new apartment complex was zoned for a T-4 which allows multi-family homes such as apartments. Neighbors say that part was unclear.
A member of the Planning Commission asked Huntsville city planner Kevin Bernard, “Was it clear during the public stages of that what was allowed in each one of the transects?” Bernard replied “Yes” and the room erupted with several “no’s” from members of the crowd.
Neighbors say the initial renderings from the Lendon development eluded them to believe there would be single-family homes in that area, not apartments.
Roy Braswell, who is in the process of building his million-dollar home right next to the new apartment site, said he feels the Huntsville planning commission betrayed the residents of Jones Valley
“I will be able to throw a rock from my front porch and be able to hit the back of the apartment. That’s how close it will be to my front,” said Braswell, ”We feel devastated. We’ve been lied to.”
James Yates, who lives nearby said these apartments will ruin the integrity of the community.
“No matter how good the intentions are that the rental properties start with, they degrade over time. You have trash, you have crime,” said Yates.
Other neighbors feared traffic will increase and their home property values will decrease. Commissioners sympathized with the residents, but say they’re obligated to approve plans that meet required guidelines.
“I am of the position that just because you can. Doesn’t mean you need to do it ok? But this body can’t make that decision,” said Commissioner Kyle Collins, ”If you can’t speak, you’ve spoken very loudly with your numbers, and I’ve taken note of that.”
In a split 5-4 vote, the Planning Commission voted to approve the new development.
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