Board defeats ordinance that would have re-zoned properties north of Highway 64

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously defeated an ordinance on first reading that would have re-zoned properties north of Highway 64.
Board members took the action during their March 19 regular monthly meeting.
The ordinance also would have re-zoned properties north and east of Phase V of the Hickory Withe Estates Subdivision from R-1, Low-Density Residential, to R-1A, Low-Density Residential, 10,000 square feet, and B-1, Neighborhood Business.
Alderman John Troncone, the board’s representative on the Oakland Municipal Planning Commission, said it had unanimously recommended that the board reject the ordinance.
Noting that R-1A would allow 4.3 units to an acre, he said the commission does not believe Oakland’s residents want that.
Troncone also said the Neighborhood Business designation would permit the construction of a “gas station or coffee shop” on the properties.
“There’s also no sewer system run to that area right now,” he noted. “So, we would have to set up a sewer system. There’s a lot of cost involved.”
Donnie Culver, development manager with Renaissance Development Co., said it had already revised some sewer plans that were approved “years ago” to service the properties with a previous development.
But he noted that the company also wanted to make sure it would be constructing something that “fits the needs of today,” not six to eight years ago.
Culver said Renaissance had “no intention” of trying to “put this property forward” without some type of sewer to serve it.
“The town has already said it would be OK if we look for avenues to fund this privately,” he noted, “where the town’s not the one that’s bearing the cost to bring the sewer here.”
Culver cited a “growing demand” for a $300,000 to $400,000 house and a smaller lot size.
“But they want park area with it,” he noted. “So, we’re answering the call of the market.”
He said Renaissance had a plan ready to submit for 1.8 units to an acre, which is “well below” the 2.9 currently there as R-1. But he said the company requested the R-1A designation to “make room” for 39 acres of park space.
Although the planning commission had suggested a Planned Development, Culver said his client wanted to avoid that route.
“Once you’re locked in on the PD, it’s so hard to make any changes,” he acknowledged. “So, we want to try to take it this way. But if you see other ways, then we’re going to be resubmitting.”
Alderman Karl Chambless expressed concern that, if the board approved the ordinance, it would be “hit with a multi-dollar figure” to install sewer lines along Highway 64. He said that cost should be absorbed by the developers after the project is completed.
But Mayor Chris Goodman noted that the ordinance was “strictly for zoning.” If it were approved, the developers would still have to go through the “process of plats on the property.”
Before any of it moved forward, he said, there would have to be an “agreement for improvement” to have the sewer lines installed.
Alderman Kelly Rector asked whether Oakland’s sewerage system could handle the extra sewage. Goodman said that, even with the proposed density, the system is “within” what it can handle.
When Rector asked if a study has been conducted regarding expected future growth, the mayor said there is a plan for the maximum the system can take and where the next Wastewater Treatment Plant will be constructed.
“So, that has been done, and it really needs to be in any future plans moving forward,” Goodman concluded. “But I’ll make sure you guys get that information.”