Valley council approves rezoning for land residential housing

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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VALLEY — The Valley City Council on Monday held second readings and approved the rezoning of a 256-acre site near the Chattahoochee River, sold a 5.5-acre on Fob James Drive and suspended the rules to sale after a first reading of a 16-acre site off Combs Road.

The zoning change is for land at the end of 30th Street. Its designation is going from Forestry, Agriculture, Recreation (FAR) to Low-Density Residential (R-1), which will allow housing to be built on the site. The property off Fob James Drive has been purchased from the city by Prime Space Holdings LLC for $220,000. 

The city-owned property off Combs Road is being sold to Holland Homes LLC for $64,000. It’s adjacent to land Holland Homes presently owns and which is being developed as the Camellia Crossing subdivision. The land being purchased could be subdivided into four lots to build new homes on.

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Jon Boles and Adam Creel of the Auburn accounting firm Himmelwright were present at the meeting to report on the city’s audit for the previous fiscal year. It’s an unqualified one or the best review that can be given. Boles said there’s some very minor things that can be easily cleared up but on the whole, the city is doing a very good job with its financial record keeping. That process should be more efficient when some new software that’s being purchased by the city is fully functional.

Boles advised the city to be aware of the danger posed by hacking and to have adequate cyber security.

“The city has never been in as good a financial condition as we are in now,” said Mayor Leonard Riley. “We have a lot of land for development and the equipment needed to work it.”

The audit showed that the city is spending half of its annual income on public safety and infrastructure improvements.

Sara Crutchfield, an organizer for The Valley Local nonprofit, attended the meeting to thank Mayor Riley and the council for the use of the big parking lot outside Valley Sportsplex for this past weekend’s first ValleyFest. “It was our first event, and we were hoping to have around 1,500 people,” Crutchfield said. “We sold a total of 1,624 wristbands for admission.”

Heavy rain on Friday and a windy day on Saturday likely kept attendance from being even better. Some vendors canceled due to that. Close to 100 were expected.

More than $12,000 was generated at ValleyFest with about $7,500 of that being profit that can be divided between local worthy causes. The proceeds will be distributed among the Chattahoochee Humane Society, the Circle of Care, the Kiwanis Club of Valley, the City of Valley and the Christmas Merry Go Round.

“We had people from all over, and not just from Alabama or Georgia,” Crutchfield said. “We also had them from other states.”

“I am glad it went well,” Mayor Riley said. “I hope you do it again next year. It might be a good idea to have some tables and chairs where people can sit down to eat.”

Crutchfield said there’s a learning curve involved in what’s being done and The Valley Local will probably be doing that next year.

On the regular agenda, the council approved a quote for some unexpected work that needs to be done at the ongoing expansion of the Village Square Shopping Center. A developer is investing an estimated $15 million in an expansion that will bring some nationally known stores to the area. The work encountered a problem recently when a sewer main that had not shown up on any maps was discovered. It’s located behind Dairy Queen and Johnson Brown Funeral Home and needs to be relocated. Webb Utilities has agreed to do that for $86,250.

The city has received some grant money from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) that could pay for half of the cost.

The work will include three new manholes, three sewer cleanouts, to tie into the existing structure (manhole No. 3), a new drop connection, bypassing the existing sewer main, having a 605 foot gravity sewer, some parking lot repair at Dairy Queen, gravel bedding and having the project tested and approved by East Alabama Water.

The council approved a contract to receive 911 services from the Chambers County EMA, There’s a modest increase from what this cost the city a year ago.

The council approved a six-item consent agenda. These items included determining the cost of abatement on Bennett Street, the determination of public nuisances and authorizing the cleanup of properties on Columbus and River roads, its support of the July 19 through July 21 Back to School sales tax holiday, and a budget amendment to remove some dead or dying trees in Valley City Park.

The Bennett Street property cost the city $5,400 to clean up. A lien has been attached to the property which could allow the city to recoup that cost.

Council Member Jim Clark thanked Public Works Director Patrick Bolt and his department for repairing a pothole on 35th Street between Valley’s Walmart and Bradshaw Library. “A lot of people drive on that street, and that pothole was getting pretty big,” Clark said. “It needed to be repaired, and it didn’t take long for the Public Works Department to take care of it. They also acted quickly to replace a stop sign that had come down. I appreciate the good work they are doing.”

Council Member Henry Cooper thanked Public Works for roping off a dangerous hole near Johnson Street in his district. 

“They have told me they will take care of it real soon,” Cooper said.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount told the council that registration for spring sports had been completed and there was an increase in the number of participants compared to last year. Participation was way down during Covid but has been steadily increasing in recent years.

Blount said the Community Center pool had been closed for repairs but will reopen soon. “They are just about finished with the repair work,” she said.