50-home subdivision approved

Published 8:42 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Construction on a 50-home subdivision will soon begin following approval by the Atmore Planning Board during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon at Atmore City Hall.
The board unanimously approved Richard Maxwell's preliminary sketch plat plan for a single-family community with only two stipulations. First, the board requested that the original plan of 50 homes be downsized by one to 49, so that each lot meets the R-1 zoning size requirement of 7,500 feet. Secondly, increase the size of the sidewalks in the subdivision from three feet to four feet giving the area more common space.
Maxwell happily obliged.
"A four-foot sidewalk is certainly not a problem," he said. "That's the size we use going up to a house and certainly we will do the same beside the streets. As for eliminating one lot, I don't see that being a big problem."
Engineer W.R. Ward, who was in attendance at the meeting, said that he could reconfigure the lots to where there are still 50 in the plat plan and that all meet the 7,500 foot requirement by the city's minimum standards following the original motion to approve the preliminary plat. The board agreed verbally that if the lots meet the minimum size requirement. Maxwell later decided to add an additional foot to the sidewalk widths to five foot.
The property, which Maxwell owns with Jerry and Patty Davis, is approximately 17 acres and runs adjacent to Brooks Memorial Baptist Church and fronts McRae Street. The subdivision will consist of two roads with 25 homes on each and ending with cul-de-sacs. One street will consist of homes ranging from 1,450 square feet to 1,750 square feet and priced between $170,000 and $190,000. The main street will consist of homes ranging from 1,750 square feet to 2,000 square feet and priced from $200,000 and up.
One concerned resident was concerned if the new subdivision would include low-income housing, which she feared would "devalue" her property across the street.
"The intention is not for low-income," Maxwell said. "There are two streets. One street will have cottage-type houses with smaller lots that won't be designed for low-income; they are still going to have a lot of nice features about them. The main street, those lots will be standard lot sizes."
Maxwell also plans on offering a variety of homes for each section of the subdivision.
"We're going to build a mix of things," he said. "I'm thinking of having five or six different floor plans to choose from. We are going to have landscaping around the perimeter in the form of trees. There's a landscape easement next to the street (McRae), so that landscaping will be a little thicker and will act as a buffer for the people living there against the traffic."
Maxwell said most, if not all, of the homes will have garages and nice features such as high-scale cabinets in the kitchen.
"We probably won't have a lot of homes with high ceilings because we want to keep the prices reasonable, but they will not be targeted toward low-income," he said. "This is still in the planning stages and we do not need to build the houses too big. If you get too big, you get too expensive and will lose your market."
In addition to sidewalks, the subdivision will also have decorative street lighting and trees not only planted along the perimeter, but also along the streets.
"There will be sidewalks that go down the streets and there will be trees planted just off those sidewalks, so there will be kind of a canopy of trees eventually as you drive down," Maxwell said.
Maxwell added that restricted covenants would be in place to help restrict eyesores and other unattractive habits.
"It's going to be very unique," Dianne Burnett, director of planning for South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, said. "I envision it being very nice."
Ward's design includes the streets, curbs and gutters and storm water management, which include inlets on the streets and a retention pond. A vinyl coated chain link fence with landscaping in front of it will hide the retention pond. Water and sewer is already in place.

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