The Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a rezoning request on Monday for a portion of the Springbrook neighborhood along McFarland Boulevard. The request has previously drawn opposition from some neighbors. However, a developer with the project hopes a change in the proposal will help produce a different outcome this time.
Springbrook Investments, LLC is requesting rezoning that would allow the construction of a retail village. Previously, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted not to recommend the rezoning to the Tuscaloosa City Council, following objections from residents.
Developer Brock Corder says the new proposal for is a Planned Unit Development (PUD). With a PUD, Corder says there will be additional approvals required from the city, as plans for the development move forward. Corder says he hopes this will ease some of the concerns of those against the proposal.
“It's another layer of approval process that we have to go through to develop our project, and it gives the city a little more control over what's eventually built on the property,” Corder, who is a partner in Springbrook Investments, said. “We hope with the additional level of approval that’s required that they’ll [neighbors] get another chance to see it once we firm up the tenants and the style of development that we want to do. They’ll be able to see that and offer input and feedback to us. It just gives them an extra chance to comment.”
However, an online petition from Tuscaloosa Neighbors Together names the PUD designation as one of the reasons the group opposes the rezoning, stating that the designation “offers no protection to the neighborhood.”
The petition, posted on change.org, had 215 supporters by late Monday morning. The petition also argues that the rezoning would not be neighborhood-friendly, and that the area needs the housing provided by Springbrook, not more retail space.
Corder said even though some vacant retail exists along McFarland Boulevard, commercial real estate is very location-driven. Corder said the Springbrook site is highly desirable for retail tenants because of specifically where it is situated.
The Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission meets at 5 p.m. Monday at Tuscaloosa City Hall. The commission makes a recommendation to the city council, but their recommendation is not a final decision.
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