Local Government City planning commission OKs next phase of construction in controversial subdivision | The Cullman Tribune

Local Government

City planning commission OKs next phase of construction in controversial subdivision

Photo taken Monday, June 4 shows that displaced earth under sunken pavement appears to have pushed up these curbing/gutter slabs at two locations in the Heritage Village subdivision. Numerous potholes around the neighborhood have been recently filled. (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)

CULLMAN - On Monday evening the City of Cullman Planning Commission set specific conditions before approving the next phase of construction in the Heritage Village subdivision off Welti Road; the housing development’s already existing infrastructure has been the subject of recent controversy at Planning Commission and City Council meetings.  See www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2018/05/08/cullman-council-gets-earful-h...

At a council meeting last month, a group of Heritage Village residents led by Kerry Zozoka complained that the streets were in bad condition and had numerous potholes, and that storm water that was supposed to drain down channels running between back yards down the middle of blocks was instead draining between houses into front yards and the streets.

At Monday’s meeting, Barker Brothers Construction co-owner Brett Barker appeared before the commission and asked for approval for a preliminary plan for the next phase of construction on lots 69-75 and 17-19 of Heritage Village.  This request was tabled at May’s commission meeting when no one was present to answer questions.

Building Director Rick Fulmer noted to Barker that the streets in the subdivision had never received their top layers of pavement.  The absence of that layer left the streets weak and below the levels of the gutters. Barker countered that the opening of the new phase would open a new entrance to the subdivision and allow the company to divert construction traffic off of currently occupied Heritage Circle and Joy Street.  He added that the use of those streets for construction traffic was a main reason why the company had not yet finished the paving.

When Commission President Mike Voss brought up the subdivision’s drainage issues, Fulmer stated that city inspections showed what appeared to be “a lack of maintenance on some of it, and I think some wooden fences are part of it.”

Barker said he was not aware of drainage issues involving Barker Brothers, adding, “Now, there may be some lots that’s been bought out there from us where there may be some drainage issues, where the base or grass or sod just was not put down.”

He also stated that such issues had nothing to do with Barker Brothers but were the responsibility “of a builder or homeowner.”

After further discussion, the commission approved Barker’s preliminary plan with certain contingencies:

  • that the plan include completion of the streets, improvement of drainage and a utility easement requested by the Cullman Power Board
  • that the street and drainage construction be bonded to a value of one and a half times the amount of the construction bid accepted by Barker Brothers
  • that Barker Brothers warrant the condition of the streets for one year after their completion

Other commission business

The commission also approved:

  • A subdivision request from Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, owner of the Funzone amusement center near the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center, to subdivide that property and sell a portion of it for office development
  • A site plan for construction of a new O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store on the site of the former AJ’s Steakhouse at 917 Second Ave. NW (U.S. Highway 31).  The plan was approved, contingent on the submission of a revised drainage plan and copies of all letters of approval from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to the civil engineers working on the project.
  • A site plan for the development of a new 8,136-square-foot Boozer Eyecare Associates facility on a lot on Field of Miracles Drive between the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center and the medical complex at the intersection with Main Avenue.  The plan was approved contingent upon the correction of drawings, the parking place count and storm water drainage calculations.

The commission also heard from Jeff Pruett of the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG), who came to talk about developing a long-term plan for municipal development regulations.  He left a questionnaire with the commissioners and stated plans to return to the next meeting for further discussion.

The City of Cullman Planning Commission meets on the first Monday of each month, at 5:30 p.m. in Cullman City Hall auditorium.  The public is invited to attend.

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  • W.C. Mann
    Barker Brothers representative Brett Barker responded to a battery of questions about street and drainage conditions in the Heritage Village subdivision off Welti Road.
  • W.C. Mann
    Sen. Paul Bussman received approval to subdivide the property at his Funzone amusement center near the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center.