Two items on the Mobile Planning Commission agenda have raised the ire of residents in midtown.
At issue for some residents is the application of Robert Myers asking to consider the amendment of a planned unit development to allow a car wash at the southeast corner of Sage Avenue and Dauphin Street.
Helena Roldan, who lives in a neighborhood adjacent to the site, said she and other Cromwell Place residents oppose the development for a number of reasons. The group, she said, has four arguments against the plan.
For one, Hillburn Street already floods and she fears bigger flooding issues if the currently undeveloped property is paved. The plan also calls for an easement to allow the developer a second curb cut onto Sage, Roldan said, creating cut-through traffic. The change would make it harder to leave the neighborhood during afternoon rush hour, she said.
“Turning left onto Dauphin from Maury between [3 p.m. and 6 p.m.] is just about impossible,” Roldan said. “There was no traffic study done.”
Noise will also be a factor for residents, Roldan said, with 37 vacuum stalls on the property.
“It’s going to destroy our quality of life,” she said. “We won’t be able to sit on our back porches anymore.”
Roldan said the residents were not told what the car wash’s hours of operation would be.
Finally, Roldan complained the nearly 38-acre property, which she said was the last “pristine” piece of land in midtown, would better serve the public as a natural space. She fears the car wash will lead to more development and hurt nearby property values.
Planning staff recommended the item for denial at a meeting scheduled April 18. The application was initially held over at a May 3 meeting and is on the agenda for public hearing on Thursday, May 17.
A denial would not kill the project, but would not allow the three lots to be connected.
The property currently has a low-density residential land use designation, according to the staff report. According to news reports from the time, developers sought to build condos or apartments on the property before the housing bubble burst around 2008.
In a letter submitted as part of the April 18 staff report, Emil Graf, owner of property that includes the planned development, wrote that the family was “shocked” that the city has designated the property in question for low-density residential housing.
“This property has been used commercially for decades as a dairy, and we had portions of it rezoned from residential to commercial for our intended development 10 years ago,” he wrote. “To now say that this property cannot be used for commercial purposes is wrong, and a possible illegal taking. Until we find a buyer for this property, it should remain in its current zoning classification.”
The Graf Dairy operated pastures and collected milk on the site from the 1920s until the 1970s.
In another public hearing, the Planning Commission will decide if the Infant Mystics will be allowed to rezone property on the southwest corner of Broad and Dauphin streets to commercial to allow the group to construct a float barn. In a letter to concerned residents, Henry Caddell, president of the Old Dauphin Way Historic District, opposed the development by the Historic Restoration Society.
“The Old Dauphin Way Historic District is a beautiful neighborhood where I have lived since August 1981,” he wrote. “Our ongoing hope for this neighborhood is that development would only proceed in a fashion that would beautify and enhance the unique historic character of our neighborhood. … The last thing we need at this time is a rezoning to allow an unsightly float barn.”
This story was updated to correct the name of the applicant for the Broad Street development