by Greg Markley
Political Writer 

Although discussions continued on a variety of Conditional Use and planning issues, the only official action taken at Tuesday’s Opelika Planning Committee meeting was approval for a 3-lot subdivision on Lee Road 390 approximately 2.9 miles east of the city limits of Opelika.

Chad Boone received preliminary and final plat approval so that a one-acre lot could be sold from the merged parcels. City engineers recommended that the new larger lot be named “Haven Ridge Subdivision” in keeping with the area nearby.

The only other plat that was initially on the Agenda for this month’s meeting was withdrawn, after having been tabled at the February 26th OPC meeting. A 2nd addition to the 1st revision of a two-lot change at Pebble Shore Drive related to the Elizabeth Lee subdivision was scheduled for a Public Hearing before it was deleted from Tuesday’s agenda.

Plats tend to be the less complex form of interaction citizens have with the OPC. That is because a plat alteration usually only involves a few neighbors. That makes it less challenging for planning officials to ease concerns by giving good recommendations that satisfy all parties.

“Plats for subdivision of property occur routinely and are seldom carried over from month to month,” explained Jerry Kelley, Opelika planning director. “The requirements of the subdivision ordinance with comments from staff and PC typically do not raise questions from adjacent property owners.”

Kelley agrees with Mayor Gary Fuller who does not recall any lengthy delays on plat approval in his years as mayor.

Continues Kelley, “I do not recall since I have been with the city that a plat has been denied by the PC. However, there have been a few instances where a plat has been withdrawn at the request of the property owner. Delays in a decision for plat approval may come from private covenants/restrictions or municipal court decisions, which seldom occur.”

Also at its April 23 meeting, the OPC continued to discuss an amendment to Section 7.3 of the District Regulations in the Zoning Ordinance.

Fuller pointed out that “When the Gateway Corridor was first established no residential was located in it; it was all commercial. Of course that has changed so we are discussing if there should be a different rule on exterior materials.”

Kelley, the planning director, said the goal in amending the Zoning Ordinance is to adapt the surface area requirements for the façade to be used on new construction.

Changing the relevant paragraph on the ordinance is desired “so that gateways into the City of Opelika remain an aesthetic feature for future new development, whether residential or commercial.”