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Madison City Council moving ahead with smart growth

MADISON, Ala. - After more than a year of holding off on rezoning large sections of land, the city of Madison is taking its first steps forward in welcoming new subdivisions.

Monday, the council considered two rezoning proposals from Enfinger Development that would make way for subdivisions with a combined 243 lots.  Ultimately, the council pushed the decision to its next meeting at the end of January. Council members wanted to wait on development plans to be submitted before they took a vote.

But this will be a big decision for the council.

"It's been well over a year I believe. I think everything we have brought in and rezoned has been really small, maybe 1 to 4 or 5 houses," Council President Steve Smith stated.

At the end of 2018, the council approved a growth policy about how it will move ahead with "smart" growth, or planned growth, without overburdening schools.

"Now, it's time for us to follow it," Smith added. "It has to be under the right circumstance. We cannot overburden our schools. We have to be very cognizant of how it affects our schools, but we can't cut off growth. We've got to embrace it, but we got to make sure it brings value to our community and to our schools."

Some citizens worry the rezoning will put more stress on the school system, which is currently seeking a tax increase to fund school buildings. Other citizens on Monday urged council members to pace themselves.

This comes as developers have been patiently waiting for the door to crack open for more growth in Madison.

City Council Member Greg Shaw said, "We've worked so hard for this city and to support this school system." Speaking to a citizen, he added, "And for you to think we would do anything to harm the school system is ludicrous."

City Council Member Teddy Powell said the council will work with the mayor's office, the schools, and all parties to make sure they're doing it the right way.

"We're all in this together," he stated. "We have to work together."

The council will consider more issues like this over the months and years to come.

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