'We've already got a problem'

Jan. 10—GOOD HOPE — The City of Good Hope has approved the rezoning of nearly 30 acres of land along Mize Road, clearing the way for new housing that developers say will bring more than 180 new homes to the area.

Many of the same residents who voiced concerns over the development to the Good Hope Planning Commission last month, returned to echo their grievances directly to the council before a vote took place.

The majority of complaints were over concerns of increased traffic, water run-off and an overall desire to not have their current lifestyles affected by so many additional neighbors.

David Antaillia informed the council that he had spoken to a majority of residents and land owners in the area, and had not received any responses in favor of the proposed development. Antaillia presented the council with nearly 30 responses from residents opposing the rezoning.

"Our quality of life will forever change for the individuals who live in that area. From the traffic that has already been mentioned, to the construction that will take years. I'm assuming all of those homes will be on a slab, so you'll have countless loads of concrete coming in there," Antaillia said. "We just spent a year and a half listening to construction for RWC, and when you listen to a bulldozer clack back and forth all day long for weeks on end that is not a quality of life.

Robert Daniels said that he already experiences issues with the creek next to his rental trailer rising during heavy rainstorms. Daniels said that he is concerned the construction of more homes will only amplify those problems.

"We've already got a problem with water when it rains. I've got a creek that runs behind my house where I have a rental trailer and the water gets up pretty close to it, and it'll be worse than that when all this stuff gets there," Daniels said. "That's not counting the traffic and all that. Plus, you don't never know who's going to be moving into these places."

Senior Director of Acquisitions and Development for Rausch Coleman, Chris Moates addressed the concerns of residents and said that plans were in place to solve the majority of grievances.

"Development leads infrastructure in everything we do. Most of the time municipalities don't have the funding to spend that money," Moates said. "So they rely on the developers to bring that infrastructure in."

Moates said that his company was unable to widen Mize Road due to the fact that the city only owned a portion of the roadway. He said that the developer had plans to deed those roadways to the city, to allow for current and future growth.

He said that he believed the inclusion of a "substantial" retaining pond would solve any excessive water issues in the area.

"Most of that water washes down from the north, where Cullman put in a lift station. It basically comes through the seller's property and we have a huge pond slated to catch all that runoff. So, all the flow that you guys are experiencing now through these rain events, should be mitigated by our infrastructure and our pond," Moates said.

Moates also said that they would be investing more than half a million dollars to extend the city's sewer system from Hwy. 222 to their property, and that current residents would be able to benefit from that expansion as well.

The existing zoning of R2 (low-medium density single family homes) would allow for the development of roughly one-hundred new homes, according to Good Hope City Planner Corey Harbison. Moates said that by reducing the number of houses on each property, the cost of their proposed homes would range from $400,000-$500,000. However, by increasing the density of homes on the property, they would be able to achieve their ultimate goal of developing entry-level homes that "every-day citizens like police officers or school teachers" could afford.

"This particular market has a need for affordability. Not everybody out there that's a school teacher can afford a half a million dollar home. This gives the community pride. It allows personal home buyers to build equity and makes the whole local economy much better. There's no reason in the world someone would have to live in a mobile home around here, because they could afford one of our homes." Moates said.