Springbrook Farm development plans are taking a more and more visible shape as Alcoa commissioners have now moved forward plans to rezone the land for several different types of development.

Alcoa’s board of commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve on first reading an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance changing what are currently “heavy industrial” and “limited restriction” districts to districts allowing three types of development.

The rezoned sections of the land are set to be used for “commercial development,” “mixed use” and “open space,” the resolution for amendment shows.

Most of the land on the Springbrook Farm property will be part of this rezoning process, but the resolution specifically names six different areas that will be affected.

A master plan for the whole project shows three of these area marked to be “open space” will be a recreational area across Lodge Street from Alcoa Intermediate School, a detention pond in the bend of Hall Road as it turns into Alcoa Highway and a small wooded area near where Pistol Creek passes under Hall Road. The three other areas include large swaths of land set to be used for commercial and mixed use development.

“We need to do this before we have the businesses coming into that area, right?” Commissioner Vaughn Belcher asked before the vote.

“Yes,” City Manager Mark Johnson replied. “A lot of the out-of-state businesses especially can run into sometimes two, three years trying to get something rezoned. When they see something was not zoned properly they get nervous about that.”

Johnson said the city has not been “in any hurry” about rezoning the property which has been subdivided into larger tracts, he added.

Movement toward a properly zoned Springbrook Farm is set to pave the way for developers who Johnson indicated later in the meeting may start work as early as this summer.

City Planner Jeremy Pearson confirmed to Johnson during the meeting that platting of the area would begin first and hopefully development would follow.

After the city’s vote later in the meeting to raise property taxes from $1.96 per $100 of assessed value to $2.27, city officials have emphasized the importance of the Springbrook Farm development to the city’s fiscal future.

Its fiscal present and past has had its share of struggles after 2019 expenses went nearly $1 million over budget, partially prompting the property tax hike.

Expressing concerns for Alcoa’s community, commissioners Ken White and Jim Buchanan voted not to approve the budget and included tax raise. The rest of the commission voted yes Tuesday.

A variety of different developments are planned for the Springbrook Farm area according to real estate officials involved. The area is set essentially to be a kind of city center for Alcoa.

Efforts to plat the site are also in process and the city plans to begin construction on Marconi Boulevard — a street connecting Hall Road and the Alcoa School area — soon.

A deed for the street’s right-of-way was finalized and recorded in May.

Andrew joined The Daily Times in 2019 and covers city government and breaking news.

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