Developer's plans in limbo amid outcry against apartment complex

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Dothan (WTVY)-- People who live in a Dothan neighborhood are pleading with city commissioners to reject a proposed apartment complex, something that puzzles the developer.

Developer Ron Wilson speaks to reporters after city commissioners tabled his development request on February 19, 2019

“When you look at that area (of U.S. 431 North), nothing like a big project has been done (there) in over 35 years,” businessman Ron Wilson claims.

He promises to invest north of $20 million on 50 acres he owns near Harbor Freight. After building about 100 apartments he hopes to recruit a bank, healthcare office, and other businesses.

Wilson, though, may face an uphill battle. His obstacle is a Dothan Planning Commission recommendation that rejected his plans.

While city commissioners don't have to follow the recommendation those against the project believe they should do so.

“If the people you selected to help you make those decisions say no then, to me, it's almost a disgrace if you go against what they recommend,” Stanley Davis told commissioners.

Most of those fighting the project live in Bama Dale subdivision, a diverse working class neighborhood with many retirees. They fear escalation in crime and lower property values.

However, Kareem Martin fears Wilson, a longtime Dothan businessman. “Everything he's done, so far, has pretty much flown out of control,” Martin said.

Wilson disagrees. “I think sometimes people don't have a real understanding as far as progress.”

He said the rent for the apartments would range between $700 and $1200 monthly.

City commissioners tabled the issue and voted to approve the rezoning project on Tuesday, March 5th.