During Monday’s Scottsboro City Council meeting, the city council held their public hearing for the Goose Pond Island rezoning plans. The plans would bring an estimated $135 million in homes and infrastructure over the next 10 years.
The rezoning for Goose Pond Island would shift around some of the sites and bring forward some concessions listed by Southern Summit Group and multiple Homeowners Associations in the area.
When City Council President Richard Bailey asked for those against the rezoning, a majority of the citizens in the room raised their hands, and a total of 10 citizens spoke of why they’re against the rezoning, each of which cited the same main concern: safety on the road.
Waymon Burke was the first citizen to speak. Though he stated he wasn’t necessarily against the project, he took issue with the roads. In the Nov. 22 meeting discussing the rezoning, Burke spoke about the width of the road causing issues and the increased traffic from the new residents in this proposed project worsening the issue.
“I’m not against the development. I think the mistake, it would appear, is when the original road was put in, I assume back in the 2000s, they didn’t make it wide enough. They didn’t think ahead about future development and accommodating all of the traffic from the, I’ll say 500 or so families that are going to live in this,” Burke said.
In closing, Burke showed the council and the audience a picture of three vehicles on North Shore Drive. Two of the vehicles were parked on the street on either side and the third vehicle was barely able to squeeze between the two. Burke then pointed out that if the vehicle in the photo could barely get through this gap, no fire truck would have the chance to get through.
The next speakers would each get up and cite safety concerns, most of which stemmed from the narrow roadways and lack of parking space, leading to an increased chance in street parking.
In response to these concerns, Southern Summits Group land planner Kevin Tucker discussed the planned loop road being added that could assist in traffic as well as the biggest issues coming from enforcement of the no street parking on city roads written into Homeowners Associations in the area.
The last speaker, Shela Baird, shared her personal story of almost being hit head-on by a concrete truck.
“I’ve almost been hit head-on on Goose Pond Island Drive coming out of the neighborhood because of all the construction traffic and there’s nowhere to go but in the other lane and because you can’t see around the curves, a concrete truck came a hair away from hitting us head-on and he was flying,” Baird said. “I won’t even go into the speed issue that we have in there, that is insane. I have a handicap son that walks every morning, I am terrified that he’s going to be killed because we didn’t get sidewalks in our neighborhood. We have to walk in the street if we want to walk around. We have a real issue and a lot of this is only going to make this a thousand times worst.”
In closing, Tucker brought up the concessions of developing sidewalks and developing a community park, which could alleviate some of the parking concerns.
“I’ve been out there many times myself, construction traffic is a problem, there’s no question about it. Prior planning prevents poor performance and that’s why we, on the front end, are addressing our construction traffic. That’s why we’re building a second entrance into the development, in essence, a parallel road to North Shore Drive and Island Drive that will provide a separate access for residents. We, too, are concerned about safety,” Tucker said. “No one wants an accident to occur out there. I can’t argue with what folks are saying, it is a problem. I think if you recognize what we have designed and the commitment we’ve made, we will follow through on that.”
The vote to move forward with this rezoning will be on the Wednesday, Dec. 22 city council meeting, which starts at 4 p.m.