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1-9-06 City Council presentation – Dee Woodham

 At the December meeting of the Planning and Zoning Board, Gay McAnally presented a photograph of a new Montevallo neighborhood being developed that is a perfect representation of the “rape and scrape” development deplored by so many of our citizens and some members of city government.  In response to this photograph, Mayor Anderson assured those in attendance that the city had ordinances in place to prevent such development practices in the future.  When questions arose about who was responsible for enforcing these ordinances, members of the Planning and Zoning Board rightfully deferred the question to this body, noting that it had no enforcement powers. 

I had assumed that the ordinances the Mayor referred to were put in place after the development depicted in Ms. McAnally’s photograph since the Mayor stated that the ordinances would prevent this action “in the future.”  I e-mailed the Mayor and requested the specific ordinances she referenced, and she provided them to me, and I do appreciate that Sharon.  Those ordinances, however, were in place at the time the clear-cutting depicted in the photograph occurred, raising the question of why, if those ordinances were already in place, they were not enforced on this development.  More importantly, for the future, if the Mayor’s assertion that these ordinances will prevent this type of development practice going forward is true, then the question remains of exactly who is responsible for enforcing the ordinances and what mechanism is in place to make sure that development practices such as this no longer take place.  If that mechanism is no different than it was at the time of the development shown in this photograph, I respectfully suggest that the mechanism is failing and that there is no real deterrent to future developers to engage in this type practice.  Moreover, I suggest that the token $100/day fines called for by the ordinances, even if enforced, are insufficient to deter this type of development practice.   I further respectfully suggest that specific  mechanisms to ensure these ordinances are enforced are a vital part of any development planning that city officials continue to insist has already been done, despite the contrary evidence represented by the photograph of this development and the city-funded sewer line that has been a series of fiascos for months, among other things.

 

I believe these matters more than demonstrate the city’s planning is woefully inadequate, and I again request that this body implement a moratorium on new residential development until real planning has been done.  I am not alone in this request, as we have previously submitted approximately 400 petitions asking for the same thing, and tonight I submit an additional 52 petitions making this request.  We will continue to gather and submit these petitions until our government sees fit to place as much emphasis on the needs and desires of citizens as it does on the needs and desires of developers.

Dee Woodham