Pelham postpones vote on plan

The Pelham City Council will not vote on a new comprehensive plan for the city until February, according to Mayor Bobby Hayes.

The announcement came at the regular council meeting on Dec. 16, a date originally set by the council for a public hearing about the plan.

The council was scheduled to vote on the draft, which was approved by the Pelham Planning Commission on Nov. 14, after the public hearing.

&uot;Continuing the Progress: Pelham Comprehensive Plan 2025&uot; is an update to the city’s 1977 comprehensive plan.

The city is mandated by state code to prepare and maintain a master plan for the city, which serves as guideline for future planning and development.

Hayes stated he was not prepared to vote on the plan at the meeting due to a problem he had with the outlined walking-trail system connecting Pelham’s recreation sites.

&uot;I can’t vote to put sidewalks in existing subdivisions when I know what it is going to do to people’s yards, not to mention the cost,&uot; Hayes said.

In a section of the plan titled &uot;Recreation,&uot; the plan suggests a greenway system with multi-use trails linking recreation sites such as Buck Creek, Bishop Creek and Cahaba Valley Creek.

&uot;The people who back up to the creek are not going to want to have a walking trail put in their backyard,&uot; Hayes said, &uot;and I understand that.&uot;

Hayes said the council will revisit the plan in February and hold another public hearing prior to its adoption.

&uot;I think it needs some clarity added and maybe some rewording,&uot; said councilmember Willard Payne. &uot;I think the postponement is good for us.&uot;

A six-member committee, made up of members of the Pelham City Council, Pelham Planning Commission and city employees worked with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, who prepared the draft.

A community survey was held in July, and meetings were held in August and September to incorporate community involvement, according to Joey Hester of the Regional Planning Commission.

Hester said the plan is &uot;conceptual in nature, which means nothing is set in stone.&uot;

Payne also acknowledged the plan is meant to serve as a guide, but stressed that if it passed citizens would expect it to be followed.

&uot;People like to see you do what is on paper,&uot; Payne said.

Hayes said that the city will continue to work with Hester to tweak the plan before the next public hearing and vote.

Other major points in the plan include pedestrian friendly village centers to combat strip development on Highway 31 and more centralized municipal facilities around city hall to create a &uot;civic heart&uot; for the city.

Under the heading, &uot;Transportation Plan,&uot; the draft outlines the need to partner with state, county and federal governments for highway improvement projects.

Several residents also raised concerns about the aesthetics and traffic of Pelham roads, particularly Highway 31.

Mayor Hayes said the city has long wanted to place plants or trees in the medians of Highway 31 but has been unable to convince the State Highway Department who claims responsibility for the highway.

He said recent increases in traffic may require a different use for the medians.

&uot;What we would like to see now is the state come through and take the medians out and place left turning lanes there,&uot; Hayes said.

Among the Pelham residents who attended the meeting was State Sen. Hank Erwin, who said he plans to take the residents’ highway concerns back to Montgomery.

&uot;My main mission is to get better roads for Shelby County,&uot; Erwin said.

Erwin said he believes inauguration of

Gov.-elect Bob Riley will help Pelham’s roads get some attention that is &uot;long overdue.&uot;

&uot;We are going to go to the governor, we’re going to go to the Department of Transportation and we’re going to go to Washington,&uot; Erwin said. &uot;We’ll go around and up the ladder until we get some results.&uot;

In other action the council:

Passed an ordinance to change the zoning of A-1 Agricultural to B-2 General Business on property located on Alabama Highway 261. The applicant was James Mason.

Passed an ordinance to change the zoning of R-3 Residential District to Special District on property located at the intersection of Valleyview Road and Meadowview Apartments. The applicant was Billy Eddleman.

Passed an ordinance to change the zoning of A-1 Agricultural to M-2 Heavy Industrial on property located at Pardue Road. The applicant was Harry Monroe.

Approved a resolution allowing streetlights in the Windstone Subdivision. The city will be responsible only for powering the lights