The newly appointed members of the Mobile Planning Commission were introduced to planning staff and elected new officers during Thursday’s meeting.
James Watkins, the second longest serving member, was unanimously approved as the new chairman. Former Mayor Sam Jones originally appointed Watkins to the commission on April 15, 2004.
Carlos Gant, who wasn’t in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, was approved as vice chairman. Gant was appointed last year as a supernumerary, but was appointed as a full member of the board this year. New member Jennifer Denson was approved as secretary of the commission.
A subcommittee to study how the city should approach above-ground oil storage tanks was also reformed. Watkins, Alan Cameron and Shirley Sessions will be on the committee that will study recommendations from a city council citizens’ advisory committee on the subject.
The group also approved the subdivision of property on the west side of Forest Dell Road, extending to the north terminus of Forest Glen Drive East and Grove Hill Lane, despite hearing complaints from residents during a public hearing segment of the meeting.
The approval makes way for the Forest Hill Woods subdivision, containing seven lots on 27 acres of land. Residents were concerned because the developer hadn’t told them of his intentions for the property.
“We don’t know if it will be apartments, a subdivision, or what,” resident Robert Howell said. “We’ve received nothing from the developer on what he plans to do with this property.”
In addition, Howell said he was concerned over the environmental impact of any development on the property adjacent to his. He said the area is made up of wetlands that feed into Three Mile Creek.
Paul Powers, the developer of the property, said the plans include only seven single-family residents and no apartments, or duplexes will be developed.
“We’ll be selling large-acreage parcels,” he said. “That’s our plan.”
Powers said the smallest parcel on the property would still be larger than two acres in size.
In other business, the commission approved three new subdivisions, a new planned unit development at 2370 Hillcrest Road and new zoning applications at the meeting.