No action taken on Dogwood Hills ‘concept’ by city council

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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The Brewton City Council chambers were packed Monday as a presentation was planned for proposed development at Dogwood Hills.
During the meeting, Matt Leavell, with the University of Alabama’s Center for Economic Development, presented a conceptual master plan for the Dogwood Hills area that encompasses approximately 100 acres.
In the presentation, some 420 housing units were mentioned including apartments, cottages and single-family homes.
Leavell said a study conducted by the UA Center for Economic Development, indicated that housing would be one of the priorities for development.
“Businesses are coming, but employees don’t have a place to live,” Leavell said. “There are few houses available but they need to be affordable.”
In listening to area stake holders, Leavell said the priorities is key to attracting more people to help Brewton “grow.”
“There needs to be more units with rental units at a variety of price points and floor plans,” Leavell said. “This would make it affordable for new employees and residents to try out the city to consider permanent residency.”
Although the Council took no action on the subject, those attending the meeting were expecting to be able to speak on the subject. However, the public was not given opportunity to address the possibility of the development in the area.
The concept presented took many things into consideration including the possibility of expanding commercial space in the same area. The drawings indicated that current recreational spaces — splash pad, pool, playground, etc — would not be disturbed with any new improvements or development of the area. The concept also allowed for expansion of similar areas in Dogwood Hills.
“This is just a concept and a guide to move forward as the council chooses,” Leavell said. “Brewton is like Mayberry and the recurring idea is that you want to grow without losing that small town charm. This concept honors Brewton’s past.”
In other business during Monday’s council meeting, the council:
• approved a cable television franchise agreement with Mediacom Southeast LLC;
• approved an extension of rezoning property at 1515 Douglas Avenue. Brock Holt, with the City Planning Commission, said the property is set for construction of United Bank but a glitch with the Alabama Department of Transportation has slowed the progress for construction. Once ALDOT is satisfied with plans, the project can move forward.
• approved a recreation agreement with Neal Land Alabama, Inc. for use of property scatted in O’Bannon Park. The agreement has the city paying a $600 annual fee for use of the land during city sponsored events. The agreement will span two years and will be brought to the council for renewal at the appropriate time;
• approved the authorization of an agreement with Barge Design Solutions to provide engineering services for an airport terminal. Airport manager Earl Lambert told the council a grant cycle opening in September that could fund the cost of a new terminal would require that the location be “shovel ready” to show intent during the grant application process. The agreement with Barge Design Solutions would meet that requirement and costs associated with their work would be reimbursed with the grant award;
• approved a cooperative maintenance agreement with ALDOT for right-of-way located at 1515 Douglas Ave. The agreement would mean the City of Brewton would be responsible for maintenance at a crosswalk and/or drive entrances in the location should there ever cease to be a business in the location;
• accepted the appointment for a new member of the Brewton Development Authority. Councilwoman Cheryl Barton made the recommendation to install Beverly Wade to the position on the BDA recently vacated. The appointment was approved.

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