By EMILY SPARACINO | Personal editor
Shelby County residents will have more opportunities in August to provide feedback on the county’s comprehensive plan.
Residents can attend one of two open houses scheduled for August 9 and 11 to share their feedback and learn more about Shelby County’s draft future development map.
“The Shelby County Comprehensive Plan is your vision for the future of Shelby County, and we need your input,” read an email announcing the open house. “Stop by at one of the open houses to learn more about the ‘Future Development Map’ and give your feedback on the draft. Staff from the Shelby County Developmental Services Department and Greater Birmingham Regional Planning Commission will be on hand to speak with you and answer any questions.
The first open house will be Tuesday, August 9 at the Shelby County Services Building in Pelham, located on County Services Drive.
The second open house is scheduled for Thursday, August 11 at the new Shelby County Services Building on US 280, located at the intersection of US 280 and Dunnavant Valley Road.
At both events, residents can show up anytime between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
A pre-recorded presentation will be provided every hour and will last approximately 15 minutes.
At a Shelby County Commission working session in January, Community Planning and Development Officer Christie Hester presented the results of a public survey conducted by Shelby County last year to gather feedback from residents early in the planning process.
“A citizen-driven plan is an informed plan, which ultimately is an actionable plan, so we always start with our citizens,” Hester said. “We want to make sure they have the information and the opportunity to participate.”
The county received 2,095 responses and 8,572 open comments from the survey, which closed Dec. 1.
As the sixth-fastest-growing county in Alabama, Shelby County has changed in many ways since its last comprehensive plan update in 2004.
“In our 2004 plan, it called for more partnerships with our municipalities, so many of the partnerships we’ve developed since then actually came from our 2004 plan,” Hester said. “The county plan will help elected officials and county leaders make decisions over the next 15 years. This plan will be a model providing direction for capital investment, growth and development. »
According to Shelby County Executive Chad Scroggins, the 2004 comprehensive plan kickstarted the growth of the county’s park system.
“We sometimes used the detailed plan and the plan map to approve different types of zoning requests,” Scroggins said. “It’s important that public input allows us to put this plan into action, but it also helps us understand what residents want our budgets to invest in going forward.” »
Highlights of the investigation included the following:
• The two main highlights of the county
86% – Quality of public schools
80% – Quality of parks and open spaces
• The two main quality of life problems in the county
85% – Capacity and efficiency of the road network
75% – Rapid growth and development
• For what goods, services or destinations do you frequently leave the county?
57% – Entertainment and event venues
55 percent – Shopping
• What additional equipment do you need most?
74% – Paths or greenways for shared use
73 percent – Outdoor dining
• New types of development desired
63% – Parks, recreational spaces and amenities
56% – Shopping, retail and entertainment venues
• The two main challenges to economic growth
59% – Road network capacity
26% – Availability of reliable transportation options
• New types of residential development desired
37% – More residential development
36 percent – Grouped development that preserves open space
• New types of business development desired
45% – Redevelopment of existing sites
37% – Create new town centers or redevelop existing town centers
• The best ways for the county to retain existing businesses
41% – Invest in infrastructure
35% – Invest in improving the quality of life
• Which tourist attractions should be prioritized for funding?
82% – Oak Mountain State Park
76% – New parks and green spaces
• Desired recreational facilities
63% – Improve existing park facilities
54% – Off-road trails and greenways
• Desired transportation investments if the county received additional funding
82% – Reduced traffic jams
77 percent – Maintenance of county roads and neighborhood streets
“A lot of people move to our county because they like being close to the number one draw, which is 800,000 visitors a year to an 11,500-acre park,” Scroggins said of Oak State Park. Mountain. “People are drawn to the natural beauty of the county. Outdoor recreation is always one of our main drivers.
The project team is made up of staff from Shelby County Development Services and representatives from the Greater Birmingham Regional Planning Commission, which has worked with Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and other county towns on their complete plans.
In addition, a steering committee provided feedback, guidance and advice to the project team, and reviewed draft recommendations.
“As we look to the future, we understand that quality of life is just as important as growth,” Hester said. “We really want to focus on quality of life and create these places that people love, that our young people will want to stay and live in our communities and bring back their talents.”
The final plan will be submitted to the Shelby County Planning Commission for adoption and to the Shelby County Commission for ratification.
The process should be completed by October.
For more information, visit the project’s website, PlanShelbyAL.com.