Cullman Planning Commission backs off new subdivision amid problems with plan, protests from neighbors

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Southeast Cullman resident Gary Scheetz addresses the City of Cullman Planning Commission Tuesday evening. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – On Tuesday evening, the City of Cullman Planning Commission got an earful from residents of the Fox Meadow and Carroll Acres subdivisions who live on lots adjoining the planned Meadowbrook subdivision in southeast Cullman.

Four neighbors came forward with concerns about the proposed project, including:

  • Dust and dirt from development activities
  • Smoke from debris fires
  • Increased traffic in an area that already has three subdivision entrances in close proximity
  • Privacy and potential property value loss due to destruction of woodlands behind houses and the lack of a buffer between the neighborhoods
  • The possible population impact of a new subdivision in that area on Cullman City Schools

The biggest issue, though, was a question about stormwater drainage from the site. In addition to protests made by residents, the developer’s plans themselves indicated that water drainage rates from the site will be higher post-development than before development. Commission Chairman Mike Voss said that this was the first time in his tenure that he had been asked to approve a plan with higher post-development drainage rates, and that the City’s policy is to require drainage rates to decrease with development.

City Engineer Erica York answered a question about maintenance of drainage areas in the plan, saying that the homeowner’s association (HOA) would be responsible. No one, though, could say if the developer’s plan included a HOA. In the end, the commission decided that a high likelihood existed that the City would end up being stuck with the maintenance work and cost.

With other questions still hanging in the air, the pre- versus post-development drainage issue was enough for the commission to deny the subdivision request, though it did invite the developer to submit a revised plan at its next meeting.

New hotel

The commission also approved a site plan for a new Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel on Hayes Drive Northwest, contingent on the removal of a lot line through the site, that was added some time back while the current project was on hold.

The City of Cullman Planning Commission will meet next Oct. 7, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in the Cullman City Hall auditorium. The public is invited to attend.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com