Pike Road Town Council Stops Controversial Development Deal

Pike Road, Al. (WSFA) -- Some Pike Road homeowners worried about losing their country lifestyle can celebrate a victory of sorts, but it might not last long.

Pike Road's town council and planning board has rescinded an earlier move to allow a local developer to build thirty one new homes on just thirteen acres of land near the group's country homes.

The decision comes just a few days after those same homeowners filed suit.

The controversy erupted around developer Phil Owens when he went back on a two year old deal he had with the homeowners.

They supported his development plan when he asked Montgomery city council to zone the plot for those eighteen homes.

"We had a gentleman's agreement back in 2005, went to downtown Montgomery," said Trey Granger.

But Owens changed his mind and asked Pike Road to zone the same property for 31 houses and got the designation.

That angered the homeowners, and they filed suit last week.

"We wanted to avoid any court action," said Granger.  "But it's about keeping your word and doing what's right."

In response to the fight, Pike Road's Planning Commission and Council rescinded the move Monday night, sending the battle back to square one.

Mayor Gordon Stone says he hopes to cool the discussion and give people time to think.  First step: make a change in the land itself.

"We'll just annex it into Pike Road," Stone said.  "That will get it under one set of guidelines one set of rules and start it over and make sure every voice is heard, and let people negotiate through the process."

But no one can or will say what will happen next.

The developer declined an on camera interview but the homeowners say he told them he needed to build more houses to make a profit.

Stone says while the town wants to increase its population for its long awaited school system, that pressure won't drive any new rezoning.

"It doesn't matter of we do zero, nothing, or if we go with the original deal of eighteen or the proposed thirty four houses," he said.   "It's not a dramatic number either way."

Just the same, Trey Granger and other homeowners are leery of any further compromise.  They say they can't take Owens at his word and they felt the original deal was more than they really felt comfortable with.

Both sides are scheduled to go before Judge William Shashy Tuesday morning.