NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT) — Concerns and frustrations are swirling in Northport as there’s more talk of development along McFarland Boulevard and Harper Road.
Tuesday night, the Northport Planning and Zoning Commission approved the annexation of a nearly 55-acre plot in this area zoned for commercial use.
People in the neighborhoods around Harper Road say traffic is bad enough as is. Now they’re even more concerned about how it could get worse if there’s a new development in the area.
“It’s going to make traffic unbearable,” says Shirley Farms resident Donald Johnson.
Many people in the Shirley Farms and Buckhead neighborhoods in Northport came out to voice their concerns to the Northport Planning and Zoning Commission about new commercial developments in the area.
“There’s already problems with speeding, there’s some other issues that come along with being on that type of road that people use as a cut-through,” said Richard Daniels, President of the Shirley Farms Homeowners Association. “We don’t believe that the road in its current state could handle any additional traffic unless the road is widened and I know there’s some in our neighborhood who are opposed to that.”
Some are worried their concerns about new development, especially surrounding the proposed water park, are not being heard by the city.
“It should be a big enough issue that it should have to be voted on by the community, not by a council,” said Johnson.
The Northport Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-1 to give the city council a favorable recommendation for this land annexation. The commission said this plan does not have information on what could be built on the property and that that proposal would come forward down the line after the annexation is approved by the council.
“If the city council does annex and rezone this property, the developer would be responsible for working with the city of Northport’s Office of the City Engineer and providing that information, plans, any studies whether it be infrastructure, traffic, stormwater, sanitary sewer, or water distribution, all of that would be handled at that point and would have to meet current city ordinances and regulations,” says Kevin Turner, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
This land annexation is scheduled to go before the Northport City Council in November for approval.