Tuscaloosa neighborhood fights retail and restaurant plans

Stoney Sharp reports.

Susie Smith has lived in Tuscaloosa's Springbrook neighborhood since 1989. Smith now worries new development plans will ruin the neighborhood.

"We have no idea what businesses will go in. It will be a very devastating blow to the neighborhood," Smith said Thursday.

Springbrook Investments, LLC wants to rezone 5.6 acres of land in the neighborhood to commercial. It's the plot along Albright Road facing McFarland Boulevard. The company has purchased 23 homes, hoping to replace them with casual dining restaurants and retail stores.

Smith's home is a few blocks away. She is concerned about the loss of homes and trees.

"The property would open up our neighborhood to McFarland Boulevard and Albright Road. It's somewhat sequestered now with the houses and trees acting as a buffer," the homeowner explained.

District 7 Councilwoman Sonya McKinstry said she held meetings with the two sides, but no agreement was reached.

"We understand the city is going to be growing and advancing, but you do want some type of covenant shield when it comes to the we'll see what happens," McKinstry told ABC 33/40 News.

The developers believe commercial space won't hurt the Springbrook neighborhood and that people enjoy living near retail space.

Smith said she disagrees.

"I think development that is deliberate, is well thought out, is well planned out, and does not infringe on people's living space is a good thing. This is not one of those plans," Smith added.

The rezoning request will go before the planning and zoning commission Monday.

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