Community and Developers Clash Over Augusta Evan’s Property Project

At first glance the development of a commercial park anchored by a Publix in midtown is the source of excitement.

“If we look at the Map of Mobile, the citizens said they wanted a premier grocery store, we have one,” said Fred Richardson, Councilmember.

But one group of residents in midtown question how the current plans align with being a friendly more walkable community as outlined in the map for Mobile.

“If you get the buildings right and you get them to face the streets. It’s a human scale, you want to make it towards that instead of the vehicle,” said Sam Dennis, Midtown Mobile Movement.

The group have their own vision for their neighborhood.  It’s a lot different than what the developers unveiled.

“I mean everybody loves Publix, we’ve seen it everywhere else, Baldwin Park in Orlando, and a few other developments that Publix has listened to the community and they created walkable urban nodes.”

“And the map for Mobile when it was approved last year it was a framework and we’re beginning to and we’re beginning to add other levels of detail to it,” said Dianne Irby, City of Mobile Planning and Urban Development.

Irby says these debates were expected as a result of creating the map for Mobile.

“The cities very flexible, and I think a lot of the developers are very flexible as well a lot of our community groups what we have to do is we have to make sure there is a level of reality, with their vision and plans sometimes the things that communities want,” said Irby.

John Argo with the developers recently said during an open house said they’re still looking to improve their plans.

“We bring the professionals we make sure the traffic that we provide the road improvements that are needed.  In the case of being a good neighbor we provide sound buffers, opaque buffers like crafted wood fences,” said Argo.

The development still has to get approval through the city but and how much the final project is a result of community input has yet to be determined.

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