Officials think subdivision resolution possible

Published 5:00 am Friday, March 30, 2007

Following some questions over a proposed subdivision in anundeveloped area bordered by Brookwood and Union Streets,neighborhood residents and the developer may be close to aresolution.

When developer Jamie Miller, of Bogue Chitto, first proposedplans to buy the lot from current owner Home Options LLC and build32 patio-style homes in the seven-and-a-quarter-acre lot, he metwith resistance from the neighborhood. Some neighborhood residentswere concerned with lot size and possible traffic and sewer issues.Some even expressed concern that the new properties could bringdown the property value of the homes in the area.

Discussions with city officials and implementation of efforts toaddress neighborhood concerns, a resolution in the matter appearspossible.

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In meetings with Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell, as well as townhall meetings, Miller listened to the concerns of neighborhoodresidents and addressed them, even adding amenities out of respectfor the surrounding neighborhood.

“The developer is offering a premium service, and is even buildinga good neighbor fence before construction on the houses starts. Heplans on having a 25-foot green space that’s going to be a walkpath around the outside of it as well,” said attorney Brad Boerner,who represents Miller and Home Options. “These are things that youdon’t see very often in Brookhaven.”

Miller said talks with Maxwell were frustrating because developerswould amend the plans to suit what Maxwell represented as thedemands of the neighborhood, and then he would come back with newstipulations. One of those was fewer houses and larger lots, towhich Miller agreed.

“This is a good thing,” said Miller. “There are no negatives. Idon’t understand why he’s trying to hold it up.”

Maxwell was vocal in opposition to the subdivision a recent townhall meeting, saying that it is his job to represent the people ofhis ward. Since recusing himself of the argument in the March 20Board of Aldermen meeting, however, he has directed questions toother neighborhood residents.

“Well, I felt like the process was going forward,” Maxwell said. “Ithink the development could be good and other than that I feel likethe questions should be directed to the adjoining propertyowners.”

At last Tuesday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting, Alderman atlarge Les Bumgarner made a motion that the planning commission meetagain to try to settle perceived continuing issues between thedeveloper and residents of the neighborhood.

“The zoning commission voted in a recommendation that had no morethan 28 lots, and that’s what’s on the table right now. But theBoard of Aldermen has sent that back,” said Boerner. “We’reconfused.”

But at least some area residents seem comfortable with theagreement to bring the number of houses down from 32 to 28.

“Twenty-eight lots are not a problem as far as I’m concerned, ifthey will do that,” said John Richardson, who lives on the cornerof Brookwood and Field Lark Lane.

But Richardson, as well as other residents, had expressed someconcern over general car traffic in the area, as well as possiblesafety issues caused by a cul-de-sac. Some still expressed concernover general issues caused by extra sewage and water trafficbrought on by the addition of 28 new houses.

City Building Inspector Walter Temple said plans are currently inthe works to deal with those problems.

“The drainage, sewer and water issues will be addressed. They areworking on that now,” said Temple. “They have copies of theordinances and I’ve been assured they’ll adhere to all ofthem.”

Some Brookhaven residents believe the addition of subdivisions likethe proposed Brookwood Subdivision can make a positive impact onthe city’s potential for growth.

“It makes good sense to have moderate housing for youngprofessionals, young couples, singles, elderly, widows andwidowers,” said Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes. “Developerslike this could be part of an effort to move Brookhaven forward byproviding reasonable housing.”

As it stands, the houses in the proposed Brookwood Subdivision areexpected to appraise for $125,000-$150,000, which is comparable toand higher than some other homes in the area. Therefore, thesubdivision could actually improve property values for currentresidents of the area.

Maxwell had no comment for what he thought the new developmentcould do for his ward.

Temple said a date for the next Planning Commission meeting has notbeen set.

“We’re just trying to find a happy medium between the surroundinghomeowners and the developer,” said Temple.

Miller said if the Planning Commission does not reach a suitableagreement, he’s not sure what his next move is.

“I hope we’re going to come to an understanding, because we’ve puta lot of time and effort and thought into this,” he said. “But ifnot, I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”