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Council Denies Adalyn Trails Subdivision On 3 to 2 Vote

            The Zachary City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting, July 9, 2019.  Council members, Lael Montgomery, Hunter Landry, Laura O’Brien, Brandon Noel, and Francis Nezianya were in attendance, along with city attorney, John Hopewell.  Mayor Amrhein presided over the meeting.

            The main item on the agenda was the site plan approval of the hotly contested Adalyn Trails.   The request regarded the preliminary plat for the 35-lot residential development of approximately 65.2 acres, part of which is directly west and would tie into Millwood Creek subdivision, adding four new lots to it.  Planning and zoning approved the measure, so it went on to the full council for a vote as per the guidelines of the unified development code (UDC).  Residents from Millwood Creek, Highland Oaks, and Redwood Lakes were present at past two meetings to express their concerns at the public hearing, which included drainage, traffic, and crime.

            To summarize the discussion and decision made at the June 25th meeting, Geoff Wilson, developmental engineer for the project, was present to speak in favor of this site plan to be approved.   “I’m basically giving Millwood Creek four new neighbors,” explained Wilson.  He also shed light on the fact that the development would feature a retention pond that could handle a 100 year flood event and would reduce water flow by 20%.

            Councilman Landry spoke in favor of the development, concluding that although the subdivision was “unorthodox“ in many ways including shape, the council had “no legal leg to stand on to say no.“ “This is one of those scenarios where if you don’t want someone to develop next to you, your only choice is to buy the land yourself,”  Landry stated.

            “Councilman Landry called it in an unorthodox method of creating a subdivision.  I call it hodgepodge,” stated Lee Coleman, of Millwood Creek, who drew applause for a memorable speech in opposition.

            Landry made a motion to approve, to which there was no second.  Lael Montgomery made a motion to deny, to which there was no second from Laura O’Brien or Francis Nezianya.  The residents and the mayor were speechless for a moment.  With Brandon Noel absent from the meeting and with there being no precedent, the decision was made to take the item up at the next meeting July 9, 2019.     

            At the July 9, 2019, meeting, with the full council present, some of the neighboring opposition changed their position to “speak for, with concerns,” as Lee Coleman put it succinctly.  Why the change in tune?

            “They made concessions, RS to RE.  They made drainage concessions, and we feel like we’ve struck the balance of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Coleman stated.    

            The zoning change to RE was far less dense, and the drainage consideration included a three acre retention pond that would reduce flow by 20% and could handle a 100 year event.  The remaining concerns were whether the four lots at the end of Millwood Creek would be developed immediately or left to develop later.  If left to develop later, many residents feared that there would be plans to expand the plans beyond the four lots into the protected wetlands past the lots a later date.    

            “If you had a 100 year flood tomorrow, you would have a 20% reduction.  You’re actually better off with the subdivision in place than without,” cautioned Wilson.     

            Mayor Amrhein stated that wetlands could indeed be developed, but explained that it comes as a high price, which is cost prohibitive to developers.  Further discussion ensued, with Francis Nezianya and Lael Montgomery voicing strong disapproval.  

            Councilman Landry made a motion to approve, seconded by Noel this time.  Montgomery, O’Brien, and Nezianya voted no, and the measure was denied.

            Joe Lam, of 5325 Lower Zachary Rd. was present to request a rezone of Lot D-1 of the Sarah McHugh Tract from RE to a much more dense RU.  He planned to build 11 quadplexes, 36 condos, split level, and 17 single condos, that would range in cost between $140-$160K.  He was trying to build something for retired people and single people, to meet their needs.  The measure was shot down in another 3/2 vote, due to the zoning being “too intense for that area” according to Noel.  Landry and Montgomery voted in favor.      

Article Provided by Zachary Post  |  Mike Gennaro


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