Daphne development proposed on 181

DAPHNE – A planned unit development on Alabama 181 would bring commercial construction in the area as well as 104 new homes, according to a proposal being considered by the Daphne City Council. The council is scheduled to vote in November to zone 53.4 acres on the northeast corner of Alabama 181 and St. Michael’s Way as a planned unit development. The property owner, Joseph Manci, has also asked for the parcel to be annexed into the city. During a public hearing on the request on Monday, Oct. 18, Jason Wooten, an agent for the applicant, said the development would include 21.4 acres on Alabama 181 developed as commercial property and 32.06 acres developed as residential. Commercial development would include a grocery store and pet store, according to the proposal. Adrienne Jones, municipal community development director, said the city staff and most of the Daphne Planning Commission recommended approval of the request. She said the developer had requested the commercial zoning of B-2 but agreed to a more restrictive designation of B-2A. “There are several things that make this a good application,” she said. “One is that it does provide a variety of lot sizes. It does also provide a combination of residential and commercial. It is very likely that the property that is at the intersection of 181 and St. Michael Way should and would be commercial. It is our desire, staff, that the property be in the city so that it would be the city’s regulations and city’s oversight for development of the property.” Councilman Ron Scott said that while some residents have opposed commercial development in general, the area needs retail businesses as well as homes. “They have an awful lot of houses,” Scott said. “They have got to drive a long way to find some commercial stores. If you will envision what Timber Creek looks like. On 181, the front side are all those offices and commercial buildings. There’s everything from hotels to McDonald’s, banks, office buildings, dentist office and they all back up to a portion of Timber Creek. It is an appropriate and a wise use of land in my opinion. So, I’m certainly in favor of it.” Councilman Steve Olen, a Planning Commission member, said that if the ordinance is not approved, the site would remain in the unincorporated area of the county with fewer zoning restrictions on development. “One focus of that discussion was that there was an important concession by the developer in terms of B-2A with the exceptions and that if this property were not brought into the city, you’re looking at the likelihood of a much less restrictive commercial development in the county,” Olen said. Nancy Vinger, who lives in the neighboring Dunmore subdivision said that she did not object to the development but was concerned that the project could increase flooding in her area. “I also believe that it’s really good that the city is doing it,” she said. “My concern is the water runoff. We have a ditch that is encompassed in our property, and we’re just concerned that hurricanes, really, really bad rainstorms our ditch gets up to half to three quarters of the way full and we don’t want to have some development coming back and rushing water into the ditch because that is our property and that affects our home because if we flood, we flood.” Wooten said rain falling on the PUD site would not be diverted into the Dunmore subdivision. He said the project will include a retention pond to hold runoff. “We’re taking it into the basin and holding it so it can percolate into the soil mass surrounding it,” Wooten said.