Court decision puts development project on hold

Posted by Samuel King - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A court decision has put a development plan in East Montgomery is put on hold.  A development group wants to build a hotel along with restaurants and shops right next to a residential neighborhood.  The Homeowners' Association opposes the plan.

"You can imagine backing up to the property and having a 4 story hotel looking into your backyard, and having a restaurant backing up, that would serving liquor and so forth all hours of the night," said Benny Nolen, treasurer of the Halcyon Forest Homeowners Association.

The area is on land owned by the Alabama Baptist State Convention near the intersection of Interstate 85 and Taylor Road.  The convention wants to sell the land to East Alabama Global Development for the project.  The Baptist Convention purchased the land from the Waller family in 1986.  As part of the agreement, any use of the land had be approved by a neighborhood review board.

"We met with the developers on many occasions, and could never agree, and they filed suit against the neighborhood," Nolen said.

Attorneys for the Baptist Convention and the developers argued the original board no longer exists, so they should only be subject to city zoning restrictions.

The judge in the case ruled on Wednesday.  He found that the neighborhood does have the right to approve any development plans for the land.   Neighbors say they're not opposed to seeing the land developed.  They just want a use that would cause fewer disruptions to their quality of life.

"We have no objection to an office park out there, if they (the Baptist Convention) would move their headquarters there, or any office park out there," Nolen said.

The attorney for the East Alabama Global Development Group, J. Doyle Fuller, told WSFA 12 News, while he respects the judge's decision, he disagrees with the ruling.  He said his side will ask the judge to reconsider.  Doyle said the city planning commission has not taken action on the project.  He said the commission is waiting for the neighborhood and the developers to come to some sort of agreement.

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