People shout, commissioners listen

The Dothan Planning Commission has rejected plans to allow apartments near upscale homes.
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 4:38 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Dothan Planning Commission has rejected plans to allow apartments near upscale homes. However, this dispute isn’t over yet.

“My backyard would be the multifamily development,” Kim Blocker, opposes apartment zoning, said.

She fears bumper to bumper traffic and plunging property values. Blocker’s talking about the plot of land at the corner of John D. Odom Road and Murphy Mill Road.

A developer had hoped the planning commission would change zoning. That would allow him to construct apartments or perhaps townhouses.

The nine member Dothan Planning Commission though turned down his request on a unanimous vote. The vote came despite a recommendation from City Hall staff that the property should be rezoned.

With a city growing rapidly and growing opposition to development plans, it may be time to take a look at long-range plans.

“It’s been ten years since we did a plan for the city,” Todd McDonald, Director of Planning and Development Dothan, said. “This is really good indication that it’s time to do another one, to revisit that plan so, I think that it will be on our work list this year, if not next year, but it’s a big endeavor, it takes a lot of time and pressure.”

The project is down, but not out. That’s because if the developer pushes the issue, city commissioners must make a final decision.

“There’s too much traffic already that we have come accustomed to and that we have dealt with,” Talia Mills, opposes apartment zoning, said. “They don’t need to add 200 to 500 more people on the road back and forth every single day.”

Over 500 people in the area have said they don’t want apartment dwelling neighbors.

“None of the five communities that are on that corner are in favor of this,” Blocker said.

And they promise to keep shouting that message for as long as it takes.

Last year the planning commission recommended approval for an apartment community just a few blocks away. That property needed development plan approval but, not rezoning like the one today did.

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