Council approves Plainsman Lake Development Agreement

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PHOTO BY josh fisher / for the opelika observer

By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com 

The Auburn City Council approved a development agreement with Edgar Hughston Builder, Inc. for the Plainsman Lake development, but were presented with requests by citizens regarding safety in the neighborhood.

The council had originally postponed the item from the last council meeting after citizens requested more time to review the information. 

Following the two-week postponement, citizens attended Tuesday’s meeting to express concern with the development agreement and for safety moving forward.

“This Development Agreement for Plainsman Lake (Development) represents the collaborative efforts of the city of Auburn (City) and Edgar Hughston Builder, Inc. (Developer) which began in early 2020 for a new mixed-use residential development,” reads the city of Auburn e-packet. “The proposed Development includes a collector street on the City’s major street master plan which could allow the City to leverage work being proposed by the Developer to offset some of the costs of the Richland Connector.

“The Richland Connector is proposed to provide an alternate route for residents to access homes, public schools, and parks facilities along Richland Road. The Richland Connector is proposed to connect to Richland Road near the west-most entrance/exit for Creekside Elementary School then meander south to Martin Luther King Drive (near Webster Road).”

One citizen, Steven Farrington said that he and his neighbors do not oppose Plainsman Lakes, just have concerns. 

“We are here again to ask the city of Auburn to protect the safety, purity, serenity and integrity of our established neighborhood as the city of Auburn and the developer enter into this agreement on the Richland Road Connector,” he said.

Farrington asked the council to consider rewriting the development agreement. 

One of the main citizen concerns was the traffic surrounding the area and what will happen to the traffic once work begins on Plainsman Lake.

“What some are asking for tonight, should an affirmative vote be decided on the development is the council’s full development to the elements that would provide some relief to the increase in traffic this development will contribute to,” said Chris Cyr, Solamere HOA president. “This includes approval of the city’s portion of the connector road and funding required to complete it, as well as future funding of traffic signals when the conditions are warranted.”

Other residents expressed concern with football traffic, how long the construction will take and detours.

Ward 2 Council Member Kelley Griswold said that while he understands residents’ concerns, the council has no reason not to approve the developer’s agreement. 

“I really do not see anything in the agreement that needs to change but I do encourage the community, the homeowners association, as well as the residents to continue their work with the developer to resolve the outstanding issues,” he said.

The council also approved a resolution for the performance residential development for the townhomes at Plainsman Lake. 

Other Business:

  • The council approved a tax abatement for ID Plastics LP for the Auburn Industrial Park. 
  • The council approved a contract with Axon Enterprise Inc for an integrated camera system for the Public Safety Division. 
  • The council approved the annexation of three properties. 
  • The council approved the rezoning of 9.99 acres for Donahue Ridge, Phase 8 rezoning. 
  • The council amended Ordinance Number 3190 related to the Planned Development District Designation for the property on Miracle Road/Lee Road 83 that will serve as commercial space, cottage housing, townhomes and single-family detached units. 
  • The council approved a resolution for the expansion of office use in the ACDI Business Center. 
  • The council approved industrial use for the property on Riley Street for Project A by the Auburn Industrial Development Board. 
  • The council approved commercial support use for Sign World’s expansion. 
  • The council approved institutional, road service, nursery, commercial support and commercial and entertainment uses for the Woodward Oaks Commercial property.

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