Residents of Waterford Place and surrounding neighborhoods in South Tuscaloosa disapprove of a new development planned for their area. They brought their complaints to the City of Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission last night.

The crux of the resident's argument centers around annexation of the property and potential approval of a development in an already heavily populated area.

District 3 Tuscaloosa County Commissioner Mark Nelson told the commission he is not against development, but this one does not fit the area and is just intended as a money maker.

“Development for the sake of development - that’s not the way it needs to be done,” Nelson said from a podium in front of a packed house in the Tuscaloosa City Council chambers. “We want to have a better plan in our area because that’s where our roots are, that’s where our homes are, that’s where our kids go to school. It’s an investment and we want to continue that and not work against it.”

Nelson represents the council district that encompasses the area around the proposed development.

If approved the DR Horton housing development will be constructed in an area just off Highway 69 South between Waterford Place and Shelton State Community College. Residents warn that will lead to too much congestion.

D.R. Horton is a nationwide housing development company based in Florida. The company also handles mortgage, title and insurance. The company has been in business since 1978 and already has a Tuscaloosa presence in Magnolia Hill, Trestle Square and Sandy Ridge developments. Their home prices run from $200,000 to the mid $350,000s.

Speakers told the commission the infrastructure is already taxed by existing developments south of Skyland Blvd. Many fear the development will lead to an already crowded Highway 69 being bogged down by additional traffic if the development goes forward.

Most of the opposition to the project is coming from the Waterford Place Homeowners Association which believes the new development will reduce their property values. President Tiffanie Ezell says the developer is not following standard procedures of local developers. She demands the commission at least order the housing density to be reduced by half.

"We plan to continue to fight this,” she vowed.

The zoning and planning commission continued any decision on the development until next month's meeting. The commission also advised the developers to meet with the association and attempt to address their complaints.

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