Subdivision plans near Robertsdale Walmart worry residents

By GUY BUSBY
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 11/30/22

ROBERTSDALE — A proposal to build almost 100 homes west of the Robertsdale Walmart has some residents expressing concerns about drainage, sewer services and traffic.The Robertsdale City Council …

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Subdivision plans near Robertsdale Walmart worry residents

Posted

ROBERTSDALE — A proposal to build almost 100 homes west of the Robertsdale Walmart has some residents expressing concerns about drainage, sewer services and traffic.

The Robertsdale City Council voted Monday, Nov. 21, to approve annexing part of a parcel on the northeast corner of Baldwin County 48 and Baldwin County 65. The annexation brings the entire 40-acre parcel inside the city limits. Part of the property was in the city and part of the parcel was in an unincorporated area of the county.

The council also voted to rezone the property as a planned unit development. The plan for the site calls for 97 homes to be constructed on the property.

During the council meeting, three residents said they were worried that increased development in the area would increase flooding problems. Resident Charles Duckworth said floodwaters and sewage spills are already affecting homes such as his.

"We have trouble with flooding now when we get a good rain and we have trouble with sewage," Duckworth said. "We have a little creek behind our house, and we've had it come all the way up to our fence just about in our yard, to our fence line."

Councilman Joe Kitchens said the city is working to improve sewerage services throughout Robertsdale.

"We've got an over $4 million plan in the process right now, working toward reminding that," Kitchens told Duckworth. "We're doing everything we can to get it straightened out and eliminated. We feel like we'll be in place where we can handle that by the time this subdivision gets established."

Resident Roger Booth said he was concerned about how runoff would flow from the two detention ponds in the subdivision.

"Are these ponds going to drain the water in different directions or are they all going to come together again before it hits the highway? I'm not saying what you're doing is wrong," Booth said, "I'm just saying, has anybody thought this out? Because many times in Robertsdale we have not thought this out."

Cathy Barnette of Dewberry Engineering, the engineering company working on the project, said planners are working on the drainage system for the subdivision.

"We talked about maintaining the natural drainage system and how we met with the county to address some of those watershed issues," Barnette said. "When we do a preliminary drainage analysis, we look at where the property meets the topographic and how the property falls to get a sense of what's going to be needed."

She said development should not create more of a drainage problem.

"We're not going to solve everything," Barnette said. "It may still occasionally flood on County Road 65. That's not what we can pledge to do, but we are not going to exacerbate that problem in the slightest."

Councilman Paul Hollingsworth said he was also concerned about the increase in traffic caused by almost 100 new homes.

"That's always a problem getting in and out of a subdivision," Hollingsworth said.

Barnette said planners are also working on traffic studies for the project.

"Before developments are started, the traffic engineer will make a recommendation and generate a report with the projected trip counts and then based on that, they'll make a recommendation for if a light is needed, for example, or a right-in, right-out, whatever is recommended," she said.

She said that while the PUD and annexation were approved, any changes in the plans will still have to be approved by the city.

"One of the strong points about a PUD is that everything that's on paper as far as the building construction, the type of development you're getting, the balance of the lots, is all part of your zoning and approval," Barnette said. "So, when we modify or attempt to modify anything that will change what this body has seen, it will have to go back before the planning commission and the city council."

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