A group of Hoover residents are attempting to stop a new development they believe could negatively impact their neighborhood. 

Residents of The Preserve neighborhood came together on Sunday evening at the Village Green Park to protest, wearing t-shirts that read "Preserve the Preserve."

The Preserve is a 300-acre community with a pedestrian-friendly restaurant and retail space north of Interstate 459. The master plan for the neighborhood has been subject to several changes since USS Real Estate, a division of the U.S. Steel Corporation, initially proposed the then-all-residential development to the Hoover City Council in 1999.

In 2003, USS Real Estate narrowly won approval for a commercial sector, but this didn't materialize until 2007 when developers constructed the area now including Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato, Moss Rock Tacos & Tequilas, Moss Rock Pharmacy, Stone Salon and the USS Real Estate office. 

In 2018, Hoover City Council rezoned part of the neighborhood to include a grocery store in the Town Center that was never constructed. 

According to reports, the new development, if approved, would alter the plan for the Preserve's mixed-use area to permit developer Capstone Communities to constrict 295 residential units, 38 townhomes and a boutique hotel. It would also allow for more retail space and a parking deck. 

This would add to the 69,000-square-foot Preserve Town Center's already available office and retail space. 

Residents told the press that when they bought property in The Preserve, they thought the area would include retail and restaurants only. Others expressed concerns about the development's effect on traffic and The Preserve's aesthetic. 

A petition by Christine Botthof on Change.org opposing the new development already has over 4,000 signatures. The petition claims that, under the new plan, 25% to 33% of the Village Green Park will become townhomes and retail. It also cites concerns about street safety, air quality, overcrowded schools and the environment and suggests the plan could cause a 14% decrease in property value. 

Capstone submitted its proposal to the city on August 14. The Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission was initially supposed to host a public hearing on September 11, but the developers delayed the meeting until October 9. 

On Friday, Capstone withdrew its rezoning request, intending to submit it later following a traffic study.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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