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      Leeds Council approves zoning ordinance for housing/shopping district

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      New shops, homes, and schools are one step closer to reality in Leeds. Monday night, the city council voted unanimously to approve a zoning change however, there is some friction over how the approval happened. The city of Leeds is hoping to add 500 houses, stores and a school to its big shopping district off I-20. {}"This is the key to our future growth," David Miller, Leeds Mayor said. {}Leeds Mayor David Miller says the aim is to create a walking community with schools, new homes, and shopping. {}In order to do that, the city must change the zoning ordinance for a section of land across from the Shops at Grand River."The impact will be tremendous," Miller said. "Not only will we get the ad valorem taxes off the houses themselves, but these are people who will be people shopping in Leeds."But before the vote, there were new concerns. Joanne Boyd - a local attorney said it's how the city passed the draft - that isn't right."The planning commission passed a draft ordinance," Boyd said. "The zoning ordinance we now have in Leeds says that is supposed to be taken up by the city council. They didn't take up that draft. They took up a draft that appears to have come from Daniel. I don't know where else it came from because they are supposed to consider those things at public hearings."Doug Neil , the Vice President of Development at the Daniel Corporation says the company is following all required legal steps needed to move forward."The idea bringing in new housing similar to that on the western side of town, Ross Bridge, that combines the residential, recreational, and commercial - is the type of development is what we're considering here at Grand River," Neil said.The Cahaba River Society says it too is concerned. The protection for the drainage around the property into the Cahaba River was taken out of the ordinance.'It's really the long term impact after the project is done with construction that has the greatest potential impact on the river," Beth Stewart, Cahaba River Society said.This is a project that's been on the table for years. Mayor Miller says, the tax money generated {}will cover the costs of adding new fire and police protection for the area. The Mayor says the city hopes to break ground within the year.

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