Susie Smith, a Springbrook resident, is willing to put it all on the line to seek justice in court. In June 2018, Susie began legal action against the City of Tuscaloosa and Springbrook Investments LLC for the commercial rezoning of one-fifth of the Springbrook neighborhood. Her action has resulted in significant and mounting legal expenses, court fees, and other related costs. She needs your help to continue this legal challenge.
Will you help with a donation?
The rezoning of one-fifth of Springbrook in July 2017 from residential to commercial has become the "poster child" for the City’s flagrant disregard of its own plans, plans that taxpayers funded. In Alabama, if a municipality rezones property in contradiction of its master plan, then the rezoning is considered “spot zoning,” and Alabama case law deems this illegal. Yet, the City Council and the Mayor have made—and continues to make—a habit of ignoring the City's master plans.
The homes to the right will be bulldozed for commercial development
Rezoning Springbrook. On July 25, 2017, the Tuscaloosa City Council approved the rezoning of one-fifth of Springbrook neighborhood from residential to commercial. With the Council vote evenly divided to approve and deny the rezoning, Mayor Walt Maddox cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the rezoning—against the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission, against the request of District 7 Councilor Sonya McKinstry, against the 2007 Future Land Use Plan, and, particularly, against the 2009 Specific Plan for District 7 (approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, under Mr. Maddox). The vote came two years and two months after Springbrook Investments LLC submitted the first of three rezoning petitions.
Efforts to save Springbrook. Prior to the Council vote, from June 2015 through July 2017, Springbrook residents and supporters of Springbrook neighborhood from across the city were relentless in their opposition to the rezoning. They attended four Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, three neighborhood meetings, and three City Council meetings. Additionally, Springbrook supporters collected over 600 signatures on petitions opposing the rezoning.
Please join the effort to save Springbrook by making a donation now.
Susie Smith and Springbrook supporters in the courtroom on June 24, 2019
Legal action. Inspired to take action to protect Springbrook neighborhood, on July 20, 2018, Susie filed a complaint in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court against the City of Tuscaloosa and the rezoning petitioners, Springbrook Investments LLC. On June 24, 2019, Judge James Roberts heard arguments from attorneys for the City of Tuscaloosa and Springbrook Investments asking that he uphold the City’s rezoning decision. He heard arguments from Susie Smith’s attorney asking that the rezoning be rescinded.
On August 6, 2019, Judge Roberts issued his ruling upholding the City’s rezoning decision, leaving one-fifth of Springbrook rezoned commercial. Undeterred, on September 16, 2019, Susie filed an appeal of Judge Roberts ruling to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Will you help her continue the fight by making a donation now?
A home in Springbrook neighborhood
Springbrook the Neighborhood. Springbrook is a long-established, historically rich neighborhood that meets a critical housing shortage for moderate-income residents in the city. The homes in Springbrook are situated along tree-lined streets that create a park-like appeal not available in more contemporary subdivisions.
Intended for returning World War II veterans, construction of Springbrook started in 1945. The neighborhood was thoughtfully designed and included a two-acre park. Today, Springbrook is home to renters and homeowners; to young and old; to students and retirees; to extended families and residents living alone; to black, white, Asian, and Hispanic; to university, community college, and public school faculty and staff; to skilled workers and service industry workers. Springbrook neighborhood reflects the diversity of Tuscaloosa.
Commercial development in Springbrook will irreparably harm the integrity and character of the neighborhood. It will result in the demolition of 20 Springbrook homes—displacing their residents. The remarkable, ecologically valuable tree canopy on the rezoned tract will be forever lost.
Donate now to support Susie’s effort to save Springbrook and, by extension, all the neighborhoods in Tuscaloosa.
A home in Springbrook neighborhood
- Kelly Griffiths
- Margaret Johnston
- Kelly Horwitz
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