By Cady Inabinett
A public hearing on changes to the development of the Colonial Oaks subdivision was held at the Montevallo City Council meeting on July 26. This hearing came after a Corps of Engineer’s reviewed the land slated to be developed and barred development in certain areas due to its ecological and archaeological significance.
The proposed changes would decrease the number of residential lots—from 82 to 69 lots, but would result in the development of slightly larger lots. These changes would avoid construction and development on areas that were determined to be “old building sites,” and wetland areas, according to Kelly Huffsettler, a representative for the developers of the subdivision—Garden Street Communities, LLC.
The area unused for residential lots will function as accessible common areas for residents of the subdivision, with Huffsettler saying that the developers, “cannot get in there and do any ground disturbance,” but can maintain it as an open field for residents to have access.
Council members Kenny Dukes and Martha Eisenberg pointed out concerns about a retention pond included in the project, with Dukes saying he has read several letters of concern from Montevallo residents about the retention pond overflowing into Ebenezer Swamp. According to Huffsettler, the retention pond is, “There to handle storm water runoff.” However, this would mean that roadway particulate would also end up in the retention pond—posing a concern about hazardous materials overflowing into the nearby swamplands.
Huffsettler said that the plan for this retention pond has been reviewed and approved by the developers of the subdivision, the previous city council and the University of Montevallo—who own Ebenezer Swamp, and that, “Water will have to collect and stand at two feet before anything ever runs out of it.
Also at this meeting, the Montevallo resident Rebecca Batey addressed the council about flooding in the area, saying that there has been flooding at her house costing her, “thousands of dollars.” She went on to say that this is not an isolated incident; that flooding has occurred, “every four or five years since we’ve lived in Montevallo.”
Batey asked the council to investigate solutions to help alleviate flooding issues in town. No member of the council made any comments in response.
The council also unanimously approved funding to purchase electric vehicle charging stations to be placed on Victory Building property, adjacent to City Hall. According to city Sustainability Coordinator Olivia Barrone, $20,000 of funding for this project will come from a grant from the Alabama Partners for Clean Air Infrastructure Funding Assistance Program, reducing the amount of funding from the city itself to $5,000. It is unclear when these charging stations will be installed.
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 9, at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Residents may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall.