Rosedale residents worried new re-zoning plan could ‘wipe them off the map’

Local News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — The Homewood City Council is set to vote on a proposed re-zoning and plan and entertainment district, Tuesday. City council members say the plan will both allow, and limit, growth. Yet, some residents in Rosedale, believe it could wipe them off the map.

“I feel like we don’t have a voice and we’re not being heard,” said Homewood resident Debbie Brazeal.

Debbie and her husband, Ellis, have lived in Homewood more than two decades, and they say they want to stay another 20.

“That’s why all this is concerning,” Ellis explained.

The couple worry, if this proposed zoning plan goes through and a high-intensity, entertainment district is created, the city they know and love will never be the same.

“The plan we currently have does a good job of balancing the interests of many people,” Homewood City Council President Alex Wyatt said rezoning is necessary to be able to tailor growth for the city. Different intensity zones will dictate the type of development allowed. 

“Am I concerned someone might build six or seven stories in the next few years? Yeah, I am. And then, five years later, build seven or eight stories. And now, we’re not talking can we limit to five stories, can we limit to seven stories? And then, a few years later we get to nine or ten stories, and we’re talking about limiting it to that. Well, at that point, we’ve pretty much lost the charm of downtown Homewood,” said Wyatt. “We have the ability right now to put in that limitation and I think it’s important.”

Wyatt endorsed the plan as it was, in last week’s city council meeting, while other council members opted to table the proposal to address concerns.

One of those concerns was the Rosedale neighborhood.

“If they could come in and buy up every house, they probably would,” said Rev. Byron White.

Reverend White invested in his family’s historic home. But White believes the rezoning plan allows development to encroach on this area, and he is not alone.

“You are inconveniencing a lot of other people and putting them out of their home because you want to rezone where they live,” Rosedale resident Marlene Burnett said.

CBS 42 reached out to Council President Wyatt and the council member who represents Rosedale residents. Neither responded to requests for comment by news time.

Tuesday’s Special Homewood City Council meeting is set for 5 PM.

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