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Monday, October 20, 2014

Big Crowd Plans For City's Future

Fairhope, Alabama

 FIRST GROWTH PLAN MEETING

Greg Leroy
A large crowd attended a town hall meeting this evening at the Homestead Village to discuss the city's future with interested citizens: the first in a series of three such meetings to be held this week.

Christopher Baker of the lead-firm Thompson Engineering, Greg Leroy, WAV aarchitects and other consultants recently hired by the city are conducting the meetings.

Tomorrow's meeting (Tuesday) will be 5;30 PM at the Elementary School on S. Section St.; the final one Thursday, at the Intermediate School.

All meetings will have the same agenda; but citizens may attend as many as desired.

HISTORY OF LAND PLANNING

Baker
began by defining comprehensive planning in general and the importance of citizen involvement in the process; and highlighted the incorporation of some of the philosophies of the city's founders into the current plan.

He noted the many changes since then (city's founding ca.1900) however --  particularly the recent arrival of multi-national corporations to compete with the traditional, small locally-owned businesses.

Baker credited a group of citizens worried about unbridled commercial development along Hwy 98 for initiating organized urban planning in the Eastern Shore area -- when they banded together in 1987 to form the Corridor 98 non-profit organization.

Monday at Homestead Village
Maintaining quality of life, the good appearances of businesses, planting trees, landscaping, and preventing obnoxious signage were their priorities, according to Baker.

Among the group's final recommendations were: the development of a long range plan; adoption of land use planning; and a sign ordinance.

The city's current plan was adopted in 2001 and updated in 2006: about 70% of  its recommendations have been implement by city government over the years.

Developing as a series of smaller villages instead of usual strip mall-type; neighborhoods like the Fruit n' Nut district; preventing another Airport Blvd. on Greeno Rd.; and strong local entrepreneurship were among its primary tenants.

BRAINSTORMING SESSION



Mr. Leroy then took over and asked the crowd for their visions for the city's future in six critical areas:

1. Fairhope's character?

Replies included: a walkable community; bike trails; family friendly; green infrastructure; improved traffic flow; better Internet service; more parking downtown; ,limit house size in Fruit n' Nut ; more green space, et al.

2. Transportation?

Replies were: more bicycle lanes; more sidewalks; more turning lanes for cars; more roundabouts; no roundabouts; more main connecting roads; better timing for traffic signals on Hwy 98; ban downtown parking; et al.

3. Infrastructure?

Better long range watershed management; more retention ponds; bury utility lines; prevent sewage spills; better Internet service; address inadequate drainage issues retroactively; et al.

4. How to make neighborhood villages work?  (This refers to the establishment of 6 retail centers at main intersections, surrounded by neighborhoods within walking distance.)

Replies were: proper zoning to bring about; no more big box stores; concentrate on small local businesses vs. "franchises"; annexation of un-zoned property; housing diversity (cost); et al.

5. Growth management? How? Where? What type?

Replies included: diversity in housing types and cost; sources of new (city) revenue will be needed; neighborhood associations don't operate well; need better high speed Internet; et al.

6. City Services and Delivery?

Replies: Better street lighting; expand trash pick-up; increase recycling; those outside of city should pay for police, fire (currently do not); adopt incentives for recycling; more green energy; only once weekly garbage pick-up; et al.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS


Finally, everyone present was given five green and five orange dots to use to prioritize lists of the things mentioned during the evening: green ones indicate the highest priority; orange a lessor one.  All dots could be placed on just one item, if desired.

THREE BIGGEST ISSUES OF THE NIGHT

The three highest-rated in priority order were:

1. High Speed Internet Service*

2. Pedestrian and Bicycle Friendly

2. Watershed Management and Drainage.


*It came as somewhat of a surprise that this item was rated as citzens' top priority. Individuals were allowed to put all their dots on a single item, a possible explanation.


citizens rating ideas

six critical categories

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most attendees had no clue what a comprehensive plan was/is. Few had anything of real value to offer. About 6 comments actually related to real planning. Most just wanted government to give them conveniences according to their personal lifestyles. Venue for Kant plants to push city internet. Extremely expensive information collection tool for Kant to keep socialist Fairhopians happy, 're-election tool. Had no clue how selfish and the extent of socialist ideas & ideals, not to mention ignorance of residents. Like I said, only about 6 people knew what comp. plan is & commented accordingly. See no reason for such huge waste of money to appease socialist masses with internet & bike lanes.

Anonymous said...

Just another way that Kant and his cronies can still control things the way they want them. "We gave you the chance to speak out". BS, they just go ahead and do as always. Their way or no way.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising...this is why I didn't attend. High speed internet is the biggest issue? Really???

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Anonymous said...

Well said. You are exactly right. Wonder who will be sacrificed with whatever he has up his sleeve this time?

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Anonymous said...

Nobody there had a clue? ... except for yourself, of course, who has all the answers and is always right about everything! A classic case of Narcisistic Personality disorder ... with a touch of Kant Envy ... according to Dr. Freud?

Anonymous said...

A lot of folks don't bother to attend. Like yourself, they would rather sit on the couch and watch TV and whine and complain ...

Anonymous said...

Wow, the psycho Kant-haters are out in force ... or is it the same one over and over ... someone who has already tried ... wants to be in charge?

Anonymous said...

I just wish some one would do something to help the small local home builders. We do no need any more boring D. R. Horton houses here!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'd sure like to see the 3 comments removed. Bet they were humdingers.

Publisher said...

Not so bad. We received some complaints, because they were repetitive.

We will moderate all comments for a while before posting. Not something we like to do.

Anonymous said...

difference in kant haters as you state and disliking kant policies...don't think many really know him well enough to make a determination of him, personally.

Anonymous said...

"Kant Haters" is a very appropriate name for the one or two of you that repetitively and consistently attach the Mayor, Council and hard working city employees. You hate that they ask for input, you hate when you think you are left out of the process. You say you hate the city policies. Which ones? The ones that give us first class utilities, recreation facilities, protection? Are those the things you don't like? The rest of us think we're pretty lucky to live here.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really a "Kant Hater", just know how many times he has lied to me and mine. Ask any downtown merchant, he really doesn't care about them. All he cares about is how his flowers and trees look. He doesn't even care if his "trees" are destroying the buildings downtown (ei: roots growing into the blding's foundations, branches and limbs brushing up onto the buildings, awnings., etc).