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Planning commission approves apartments near U.S. 231

The Troy Board of Adjustment’s approval Thursday of a special exception is the first step for a 56-unit apartment complex to locate in Troy off U.S. Highway 231.

Mitchell Davenport, representing Clement and Company, LLC., returned before the planning commission for the second time to make the request.

On Dec. 21, no commissioner motioned to approve and Commissioner Perry Green’s motion to deny failed to get a second, letting the motion die.

It seemed the matter was over, but landowner Earl Ellis of Landmark Realty pleaded for the board to reconsider the proposal.

““I don’t feel like Mr. Davenport has been given a fair answer to his request,” Ellis said at the December meeting. “I own the land and I’m going to sell it. I think you’re being totally unfair to him and turning down something that would certainly be a big help to Troy on that side of town. We need more rooftops and he’s a proven developer here in Troy.”

The changes the board asked for were made, and Davenport explained what had been adjusted Thursday.

“We have moved (the apartments) back about 300 feet from (U.S. Highway 231) to provide commercial frontage,” Davenport said. “The preliminary conversation I had with (the Alabama Department of Transportation) is to have a right-in and right-out from U.S. 231 at whatever frontage they deem appropriate.”

The request didn’t come without opposition. Adjacent landowner Jerry Spurlock objected to allowing apartments at the location for multiple reasons.

“A 56-unit apartment is going to have 112 parking spaces,” Spurlock said. “That’s 112 vehicles possibly going in and out right there.”

Spurlock operates a scrapyard next to where the apartments would be located, which would be between U.S. Highway 231 and Anderson Street.

Spurlock also said he was concerned about so many people living next to an industrial operation, which he said he “basically runs 24/7.”

Ellis said there’s a large buffer of trees between this property and Spurlock’s and said if the whole acreage was developed commercially it would bring more traffic than an apartment complex.

“The issue has never been density,” Green said. “Our concern was always the intent of C-4 (commercial zoning).”

Walt Stell also gave an objection that the low-income housing would not be a good sight at that point of Troy.

“There’s certainly a place for it, but that’s the face of Troy,” Stell said. “Every student and business looking to come here passes that.”

Davenport said the apartment is not Section 8 housing and fills a need for “single-parent families” and other members of the workforce that can’t afford housing built for college students with multiple incomes.

After motioning to deny the request at the last meeting, Green motioned to approve the request this time with the exception that there must not be entry and exit onto Adnerson Street unless required by the fire department and that there be a “green buffer” between the property and U.S. Highway 231.

The rest of the board unanimously followed Green’s motion and the adjustment was approved.

Davenport said this is the first step in a very long process and that the project will take over a year to complete.