The city of Rollingwood has its sights set on a residential property located within city limits at 503 Vale St. for the use of a potential police department annex building.
Due to size constraints, the current police building has limited the department’s abilities, and according to Mayor Michael Dyson, the city is currently under a $1.2 million contract to obtain the property.
Council discussed a rezoning application of the property from a residential to a government site during a virtual meeting May 20. Action will be requested during a Planning and Zoning meeting scheduled for June 10.
As officials work to obtain the full scope of the community’s input, council emphasized that an official decision has not been made to utilize the building for police use.
“None of these decisions are going to be made in a bubble, and none of these decisions are going to be made without community input,” Dyson said.
As of May 20, council received four letters from residents—two in support of the decision and two opposed. Upon speaking with residents, the largest areas of concern have been the possibilities for increased traffic and a perceived decrease in property value.
Another area of concern related to the aesthetics of the proposed building, with many residents opposing any notion of a large industrial-style building. Dyson, who said he believes the concerns are valid, presented a watercolor conceptual idea of what a future annex building could resemble.
If the city continues to move forward, an official site plan would be developed and distributed to the community, along with an survey.
Larry Houser, a 26-year Rollingwood resident who lives across from the site, expressed his concern during the public comments portion of the agenda item.
“I want the best that we can get for our police,” Houser said. “The problem for us [he and his neighbors] is that we all feel like we bought our property in a neighborhood that is residential.”
Houser also cited traffic and property value as other areas of concern.
Council Member Wendi Hundley also shared the results of her conversation with the community. Although there are residents she was unable to reach, out of 27 individuals, Hundley has tallied 13 in support and 7 who felt neutral.
Regardless of initial feelings, residents expressed a strong desire to be a part of this process, which according to Hundley has moved quickly.
The potential rezoning of the property will appear in front of the council on June 17 for action.