Road named after William Buechner; Old Samford Approved


By Hannah Lester 

The Richland Road Connector, from Richland Road to Highway 14 will be renamed William Buechner Parkway following Tuesday night’s Auburn City Council Meeting. 

Buechner lost his life on May 19, 2019, after responding to a domestic disturbance call. 

Two other officers were injured in the shooting, Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliot. 

Ward 8 Council Member, and former Police Chief, Tommy Dawson brought the item to the council’s attention during the Committee of the Whole. 

“Not a day goes by … not a day goes by, that Will Buechner doesn’t cross my mind. I was a lieutenant and he was on my shift. He often got to the call a little too fast, he liked to drive fast, one thing I remember about him. 

I got upset because I missed a few birthdays or whatnot, but Will Buechner is going to miss a lot of birthdays. He’ll never be at another birthday party again. He’ll never be at another Christmas and he’ll never have a grandchild he can experience.”

Dawson said he remembers when Buechner was hired. 

“When of the finest young men you’d ever meet, always had a smile on his face,” he said.

The former police chief said he remembers the day Buechner died, too. 

“It should have been me, instead of one of my officers,” he said. “… I often think, it should have been me because I’ve had my career. I’ve seen my child married, I’ve experienced all of that, so it’s something you never forget.”

Buechner’s memorial was an event for the city — with support from residents that filled several streets. 

The resolution to name the connector road passed unanimously. 

“Certainly to Will’s family, we’ll never forget you and we love you forever,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “… It’s a very proud moment for our city and I’m very proud and thankful for this council for doing this.”

Old Samford Development:

The Old Samford Infrastructure Development Agreement was approved Tuesday night by the council. 

The project, proposed by FAB II, LLC, and Black Rice with Barrett-Simpson, Inc., will incorporate a mixed-use development of residential, institutional and commercial use. 

“Old Samford is envisioned to be the largest and most significant multi-use development ever built in the Auburn area,” said the master development plan narrative provided online in the city’s e-packet. “The 885-acre development will be professionally master planned and constructed with unmatched amenities, enduring architectural standards and careful attention to protection of the natural environment. The development will offer a range of housing densities, varied home sizes and differing housing types to meet the needs of as many prospective home owners as possible.”

The project will include a single-family subdivision of near 1,500 homes and 60 townhomes.

However, all of these homes will not be built at the same time within the first year, Ward 3 Council Member Beth Witten clarified. It is listed that the building cap is 170 homes per year.

The project will also include room for an elementary school, a community park and a post office. 

The site concept for Old Samford lists a number of community amenities, including a food truck plaza, playground, farmers market, dog park, spots field, a small lake, trails, two pools and splash pool, a community garden, an amphitheater, bocce and corn hole courts, tennis and pickle ball courts. 

“The development will provide opportunities for residents to live healthy and active lifestyles,” the plan said. “Not only will Old Samford provide generous open spaces, the development will feature the Auburn areas’ most diverse and extensive amenities package ever offered in a single development.”

The council rezoned the 679.4 acres from rural to development district housing which is located south of Mrs. James Road and west of the Camden West Subdivision.

The council then approved an application for the Planned Development District for just over 855 acres that is zoned Development District Housing located south of Mrs. James Road and west of the Camden West subdivision.

“The things the [city and developer] have achieved throughout these negotiations have certainly impacted the city and will benefit all of us for some time to come,” said Ward 3 Council Member Kelley Griswold.

As part of the project, the developer will be giving 25 acres to Auburn City Schools for a potential new school site. Other concessions include:

  • funds for the widening North Donahue Drive
  • intersection improvements to the North Donahue Drive and Shug Jordan Parkway and to Mrs. James Road and Farmville Road and to Keystone Drive and Mrs. James Road
  • funds for the widening of the City of Farmville Road
  • providing 200 feet of right away to the city on adjacent property for an outer loop road 
  • providing funds of $1 million for street improvements and connectivity
  • Providing funds for funds for a future creek crossing of a water main 
  • Dedication of ROW and public access along Saugahatchee Creek. 

Griswold said he doesn’t often approve of development, however with concessions made and the planning in process, he believes this will be a good thing.

“I think the initial reaction, for lack of a better term, was just to comment on the scale of what we are discussing here but I think this has, as it’s unfolded, shown what an opportunity we’ve had to partner with someone willing to make concessions and improvements … and as things develop and as we grow, as we are a growing community, I think it highlights the opportunity we have” said Ward 7 Council Member Jay Hovey.

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said that promoting good growth in the city involves planning, as this developer has done.

One citizen voiced concerns about traffic and Dawson asked how the traffic would be affected. The developer is making several road and traffic improvements in its list of concessions, City Manager Megan Crouch said. 

Other Business: 

  • The council approved a tax abatement for Innovative Tech, Inc. in the Auburn Technology Park West. 
  • The council approved a contract with AstroTurf Corporation for AstroTurf for the Auburn Soccer Complex Expansion for over $1.7 million. 
  • The council approved service agreements with Dixie Electric Cooperative for the new Environmental Services and Public Works Facility for over $58,800. 
  • The council approved a contract with Evergreen Solutions, LLC, for compensation and classification study for $58,500. 
  • The council approved a development agreement for Old Samford with FAB II, LLC and James Road, LLC. 
  • The council approved a contract with the General Maintenance Contractors for the FY 22 Fiber Expansion Project. 
  • The council approved a contract to purchase light fixtures for the Auburn Soccer Field Expansion Project for $402,600 from Musco Sports Lighting, LLC. 
  • The council approved a service agreement with Spire Alabama, Inc. for the new Environmental Services and Public Works Facility for just under $28,400. 
  • The council approved the purchase of a Stivers Ford dump truck for over $50,400 for the Parks and Recreation Department. 
  • The council accepted a warranty deed for property on Lot 2 of McLaughlin Subdivision for the Webster Road Connector Project for the Auburn City Board of Education. 
  • The council accepted rights-of-way and drainage and utility easements for property on the southeast corner of Moores Mill Road and Samford Avenue in the Godfrey Subdivison, A Redivision of Lot 1.
  • The council accepted a temporary construction easement for property located at 3870 Lee Road 137 for the New Environmental Services and Public Works Relocation Project.
  • The council accepted rights‐of‐way and various drainage, utility, sanitary sewer, sidewalk, and public easements for property on the north side of Wire Road, between Cox Road and the Auburn Soccer Complex for SMB Land, LLC for the Silos at Conway.
  • The council annexed 4.83 acres for property northeast of the Auburn Soccer Complex for the Silos at Conway project.
  • The council approved an amendment to the Hamilton Place Planned Development District (PDD) for property on the northeast corner of Moores Mill Road and Hamilton Road.
  • The council rezoned over 4.83 acres from rural to limited development district for The Silos at Conway Project. 
  • The council amended ordinance 3252 for The Silos at Conway PDD to add the 4.83 acreage for property located northeast of the Auburn Soccer Complex for The Silos at Conway project.
  • The council approved a conditional use approval for office uses and reclassified a neighborhood shopping center as a community shopping center for 2449 Moores Mill Road. 


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