By Emily Williams
An overflow crowd attended the July 9 meeting of the Vestavia Hills Planning and Zoning Commission where a proposed rezoning of the area between Dolly Ridge Road and Oakview Lane was discussed. Many were there to contest the proposed rezoning and the potential development of a 150-unit apartment complex would have incorporated an additional 20,000 square feet of retail space, enough for one or two businesses. Because the capacity of the city council chamber was 88 persons, the bulk of attendees stood at the entrance of the building and listened to the meeting through a portable speaker.
At the meeting, developer Stephen Hydinger announced he would be withdrawing his plans for the mixed-use property in order to tweak the existing design and transform it into a development that would be amenable to residents.
In a previous meeting on July 6, citizens raised concerns regarding the potential effect an apartment complex could have on the functionality of the area and the safety of children attending Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights.
“We feel like we can work with everybody to come up with a great design,” Hydinger said.
Cahaba Heights residents are hoping that the redesign will not include apartments.
“They say it won’t change the crime rate, but just look at the Summit apartments,” resident Judy Gilchrist said. “If these apartments were built, then the school would be directly between two apartment buildings.”
Though the development of the property has been tabled for the time being, council members said the Cahaba Heights community should look forward to development on the property in the future.