Residents protest new builder in Montgomery subdivision

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Residents engage in a debate over property values and new homes in Far East Montgomery.  Stone Martin Builders plans to develop 150-200 lots in the Breckenridge subdivision.  But some neighbors in the subdivision say the homes the builders plan to construct will sell for half as much as what their homes are worth.

When the upset homeowners tried to protest the planned development, the police were called in to keep them away from a private clubhouse.

"I'm not allowed in the parking lot, she said, even though I'm paying the homeowners' association dues like the rest of us," said James Dunning, who opposes the new development.

Dunning and his neighbors are upset about the homes Stone Martin plans to build in Breckenridge.   They say their homes are worth about $330,000 - $500,000, while the Stone Martin homes will be worth $200,000-$300,000.

"That immediately lowers our property values to less than 100...150,000,' said Betty Hutchinson.  "We can't even get what's left on our homes.  If they can do this in my neighborhood, they can do it in yours."

The owner of Stone Martin Builders told WSFA 12 News he understands the homeowners concerns about property values.  But he says new construction just isn't worth what it was a few years ago

"Materials have gone down, labor has gone down, and it's nothing really that we've come out here and said hey, we want to build a cheaper house, it's just the market's gone down," said Mitchell Martin, owner of the company.

Martin said his homes would be high-quality and fit in with the neighborhood.

"We're using all two by six exterior walls," Martin said.  "The whole house is spray foam, with a gas tankless hot water heater, so we're going all green there."

Stone Martin Builders plans to meet with the concerned residents as soon as next week.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.