Monte Sano State Park Needs Our Help!

Monte Sano State Park is our neighbor – practically in our backyard up here on our “Mountain of Health.” It is a great place to picnic, hike, have weddings, watch bird migra-tions, mountain bike, camp, enjoy wildflowers, see a great art show, and it is where the Monte Sano Civic Association has held (for little or no expense) many potlucks, parties and meetings in the beautiful lodge.

We have come to take the park for granted, thinking it will always be there; but in the past year, several other Alabama State Parks have closed or gone to limited service and have had staff reductions. Why? Because of a recent decision by the Alabama legislature, most of the Alabama State Park’s profit from entrance fees, rentals, and other income now goes to the state’s general fund instead of staying in the state parks or even in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Monte Sano State Park has stayed open but you may have noticed the entrance fees have increased recently. Even with that, the staff has very little money or manpower to attend to all of the many needs of running a state park. For more funding info check out the Alabama State Park Website: www.alapark.com/alabama-state-parks-funding.

On a recent visit, several Monte Sano residents noticed the rock posts and rock wall behind the lodge in various states of disrepair and talked with the staff to see what could be done. The park rangers and staff are working diligently as time and money permit to keep the park going and get those repairs and other safety and maintenance projects completed. When asked, they said would welcome any help from the Monte Sano community.

The MSCA board has agreed to spearhead a drive to get help with some of the repairs this spring. They will be discussing priorities, proposals and cost estimates with Park Ranger Randy Stults and Assistant Park Ranger Brian Moore in the next few weeks.

Please take a look behind the lodge when you are there for the April MSCA potluck and consider helping out.

More details will be announced at the potluck and on the website: www.montesano.org.
Stay tuned.
photo 2photo 1photo 3

Update on Viduta Village Rezoning

As promised, your MSCA Board is working to keep the information flowing regarding the proposed development on Monte Sano.  We have received a new map of the subdivision from the developer that more clearly defines the buildable area permitted for each lot based on the Planning Commission’s approved variances to setbacks.  The attached drawing presents the variance changes in a more relevant and visual format.

The City Council will have a public hearing on the Viduta Village Rezoning request on April 28, 2016 at 6:00 P.M. during the regular city council meeting.  The meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 308 Fountain Circle.  Our City Councilman, Mark Russell, has requested residents of Monte Sano to email him with their thoughts on the rezoning issue.  He will be listening to both sides of the issue and would like to hear each of your inputs before the meeting.  You may contact him at mark.russell@huntsvilleal.gov.

Your MSCA Board encourages you to contact Councilman Mark Russell with your thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to bring forward any questions to the MSCA Board you would like asked of the developer and we’ll post both questions and answers on the website, www.montesano.org/msca.

Building Envelope

MSCA Working to Bridge Communications with Developers

The Monte Sano Civic Association continues to work towards maintaining open communications with the developers of the new subdivision on Monte Sano.  The Board actively pursued establishing communication with the Viduta Village developers on the Wednesday morning following the Planning Commission hearing on February 23rd where the rezoning and proposed plat was approved.  John Blue, Jason Johnson, and the staff at 4SITE were all quick to respond to our request for further drawings and discussion.   On March 7th, members of the MSCA board met with the developers and established a good dialog which should serve the community well as the project moves forward. We were able to confirm with them that the plat proposed in the rezoning is binding and cannot be changed unless brought back before the Planning Commission.  The developers gave us more detailed drawings of the plat along with the list of setback variances that were approved and agreed to produce us a new map showing the buildable area on each lot.  We will put this information on the website as soon as we receive the updated drawings.  The MSCA was asked by the developer to provide a couple of individuals from the Association to work with them on the landscaping options for the development.  We will be working with the membership to identify these individuals in the coming months.  We discussed street lighting and the community’s desire to be as night-sky friendly as possible.  We learned this is an issue we will need to take up with Huntsville Utilities as they are the ones that dictate the lighting options, therefore we will be trying to exercise other avenues of communication with Huntsville Utilities on behalf of the MSCA and developer.  We also asked and were told that the City, in reviewing the plans provided by the developers, that there would be minimal to no impact to city sewer, water pressure, power, and traffic.  John Blue and Jason Johnson are anxious to present and answer further questions for us at any time so please forward questions to the Board and we will post questions and answers on the website.  They also would like to continue to provide us updates as the project proceeds and your Civic Association Board will facilitate this communication.  The following steps (dates subject to change) to completion of development are 1) the approval of the Planning Commissions rezoning recommendation by the City Council in late April, 2) Presentation for approval of the detailed construction plan to the Planning Commission at their May meeting, and 3) Construction of subdivision infrastructure starting in June to be completed in 90-120 days.

We as a Board will keep the entire community up to date as information comes our way and look forward to getting answers to any questions you might have.

Monte Sano Residents Well Represented at Planning Commission Meeting

A hearty thank you to all who attended the Planning Commission Meeting on February 23, 2016.  Of particular note, thanks to fellow mountain residents Woody Bethay, Buddy Little, Anna DiPlacido, Ursula Vann, Katrina Coupland, Bob Kirchner, Tim Burke, Jan Miller, Jay Bain, Mark Tygielski, Chuck Weber, John Burns, and David Worthy who all spoke at the meeting.  We believe it was clear to the Planning Commission and to the developer that we take this new addition to the mountain seriously and will engage at every opportunity to assure our neighborhood character is protected and preserved.  The full proceedings of the meeting can be viewed on the Huntsville City’s YouTube site at https://youtu.be/h-XAwlfcMhs.

Public Hearing on the Monte Sano Development

VIDUTA VIDUTA 2

The proposed development on Monte Sano Boulevard – across from the Little Green Store and adjacent to the Baptist Church – will come before the Planning Commission on Tuesday, February 23 at 5:00 p.m. The session will be in the City Council Chambers on first floor of the City Municipal Building at 308 Fountain Circle.  The owner may present the proposed site plan in more detail during the meeting, and public comment will also be allowed at that time. (Click on the pictures to enlarge)  For those not familiar with the area around the Municipal Building Downtown, there is adequate on-street parking, as well as a parking deck across the street (accessible from Gates Ave.). Parking is free after 5:00 p.m.

The MSCA will do its best to continue to keep the community informed and up to date on all important issues related to the development.  Check back here or on our Facebook page.

NEW UPDATE – Monte Sano water pressure survey

At our October 2015 Monte Sano Civic Association meeting, Dr. Hobbs with Huntsville Utilities was asked to investigate issues with water pressure on the mountain.  The MSCA Board sent out a survey to the membership regarding water pressure and received three responses.  Huntsville Utilities investigated each issue and provided the following response:

From our Water Technicians:

Our crews went by these 3 locations and performed some pressure and flow tests at our meter located near the road, and also at the front and rear spigot at the house. I do not see anything alarming at any of these 3 locations that indicate an issue.

So, after analyzing all of the information that we gathered, I believe the customers may be simply experiencing the difference in pressure between the normal operation on this system (meaning the pumps off and the system demand and pressure is supplied solely by the water level in the tank) and the time when the pumps are on (typically only for a short 1-2 hour duration, about twice a day).

The pressure fluctuation looks to be around 7-20 psi, depending on the location, but at all times remains well within the guidelines that Huntsville Utilities is required to provide at the meter locations.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.”

Harry L. Hobbs, PhD

Public and Governmental Affairs Liaison

Huntsville Utilities

_________________________________________________________________________

Originally published on 11/29/2015

At our last membership meeting, several residents stated they were having issues with water pressure in their homes. Dr. Harry Hobbs, Public and Government Affairs Liaison for Huntsville Utilities, has asked the Monte Sano Civic Association Board to provide him with a list of persons who are experiencing issues with their water supply.

He stated Huntsville Utilities will send out crews to see if they can
improve the water pressure and check if there are any piping issues.

If this applies to you, please complete the below survey and email
your responses to Joe Dombrowski:
msca.liason@montesano.org

Note: if you are experiencing other water-related issues, please
provide details.

* Name:
* Address:
* Email:
* Phone:
* Approximate age of house:
* Is water pressure lower during certain time(s) during the day? If so, when?
* Comments:
* Describe any other water-related issues