Wilson development planning

JEREMY WISE / DOTHAN EAGLE

Former Dothan City Commissioner James Reading (left) speaks against a proposed development from Ron Wilson (right) during the Dothan Planning Commission meeting Wednesday at the Dothan Civic Center.

A former Alabama House of Representatives candidate can move forward with development of land he owns despite continued challenges from nearby residents.

On Wednesday the Dothan Planning Commission unanimously approved Ron Wilson’s plans for the Wilson North subdivision, which borders the Bama Dale neighborhood just off U.S. Highway 431 near Northview High School. Members of the Rocky Branch and Bama Dale neighborhoods have challenged Wilson about the development in the past, including at a Dothan City Commission meeting in March, when Wilson’s request to rezone a portion of the land for apartments narrowly gained approval.

Three residents spoke against Wilson’s new request, even though it involves the other area of land where zoning currently requires housing developments. One of those voicing concerns was former District 1 city commissioner James Reading, who said Wilson has a poor track record with other properties he has owned.

“I would invite this commission to ride down Helen (Street) to see the apartments Mr. Wilson used to own,” he said. “They are now abandoned. I’ve seen doghouses look better.”

Reading also said the development, which is currently zoned R-4 (high-density single-family, attached), does not fit the neighborhood.

“This project that Mr. Wilson is proposing is not a good fit,” he said. “There has to be compromise somewhere.”

Both Reading and Stanley Davis expressed concern that the size of the lots would encourage developers to buy the lots and then rent the homes they built. That would lead to a neighborhood that is always in transition, they said.

“Those will be people who are not investing in the area,” Davis said. “We want to keep it quiet. I hope it turns out to be a nice neighborhood. We want to be certain. We want to be neighbors, not divided.”

“One day we’ll wake up and see cars on blocks and four-foot grass,” Reading added.

Wilson said he would institute a homeowners association for the 89-lot development, which will curtail concerns about appearances. He added homes will range from 1,800 square feet to 2,200 square feet, even though the minimum requirement is 1,000 square feet.

In other action, the commission:

>> Approved a development plan for two Jack’s eateries – one located at the intersection of West Main Street and Moates Street and the other at 3399 Reeves Street. The Reeves Street location is on property that borders a driveway that serves Northview High School.

>> Recommended the rezone request of property located at 7292 West Main St. from A-C (agricultural-conservation) to B-2 (highway commercial).

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