By Laurel Callaway
Three different residential areas were recommended for rezoning by the Opelika Planning Commission at Tuesday’s voting session.
Property off Hamilton Road, Overlook Drive, Hickory Lane and Sanders Creek to parts of Morris Avenue were those discussed by the commission. There are currently no development plans for the three areas, which are already developed with single family homes. However, with all of the growth the community is experiencing, the commission believed it was wise to take measures in preserving those existing lots with homes on them.
“Our intent is to preserve and protect the character of the neighborhoods and (to protect) property values. That is the basis in doing this,” explained Planning Director Jerry Kelly.
The OPC recommended that the area off of Hamilton Road, namely Stonybrook Drive, Stonybrook Lane and Tifton Lane, which are surrounded by Saugahatchee Golf Course, be rezoned from R-4 to R-2.
Under R-4 zoning, multi-family residences are allowed, including condominiums and apartment buildings. R-2 only allows for single family residences with a minimum of 15,000 square foot lots and a maximum lot size of 30,000 square feet.
An adjacent parcel of property, which is undeveloped, was not part of the rezoning recommendation and would therefore remain R-4 zoning. This raised some resistance from several residents who voiced their concerns during the voting session.
Dr. Robert Ingram, who resides on Tifton Lane, was one of these residents.
“My objection to having condos or multi-family units is the traffic and access through Stonybrook Drive and the challenges of accessing Hamilton Drive. That, as well as the potential adverse effect on property values,” he stated.
Curt Cope, the property owner, said that while he has no immediate plans for the property, the R-4 zoning allows him greater options as a developer. However, both he and Kelly reminded the residents that whatever he does wish to do in the future will have to be approved by the Opelika Planning Commission.
The rezoning recommendations for the other two residential areas were met with no resistance, and the suggestion to rezone both from R-2 to R-1A were approved.
The commission also:
-discussed the expansion of outdoor display of piping products at Twin Oaks Environmental in the Gateway Corridor.
-discussed the format for update of existing 2020 Comprehensive Plan to the new 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
-listened as Shirley Lazenby shared the activities of the Bicycle Advisory Committee.