Protecting the Highway 119 corridor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2003

After Montevallo Mayor Grady Parker cast the deciding vote Monday night, the City Council amended its zoning ordinance to include an American Village District, a Gateway Commercial District and an Overlay District in an effort to control development and preserve the natural beauty of the Highway 119 corridor.

The amended zoning ordinance, designed to protect the aesthetic nature of the corridor, referred to by many as Montevallo’s &uot;front door,&uot; was not approved, however, without compromise.

That compromise came in the reduction of the setback (distance from the highway) in which parking would be allowed in the Gateway Corridor Overlay District from a proposed 40 feet down to 20 feet with &uot;ample screening&uot; of shrubbery to shield the parking area.

The compromise area is described as north of the southern boundary of the Ammersee Lakes Subdivision to Moore’s Crossroads on the east side of Highway 119.

Greg Pendleton, the newest member of the council expressed concerns about the boundaries in the ordinance and voted &uot;no.&uot; He was also concerned that property owners be allowed a mechanism to rezone their property.

Bob Lightfoot, who expressed concern over the impact of the new zoning on small property owners, voted &uot;yes.&uot;

Sharon Anderson, who said she would rather give up the 20-foot setback for parking rather than lose the entire zoning ordinance amendment package made the motion to include the compromise and voted &uot;yes.&uot;

Councilmember Willie Goldsmith, who seconded the motion, voted &uot;yes.&uot;

Councilmember Paul Brown, who expressed opposition to any depth requirements in the overlay area, abstained from voting. He owns property near the Highway 119 corridor.

As City Clerk Steve Gibbs noted that four affirmative votes were required for an action of a permanent nature to take place, Mayor Parker cast the deciding &uot;yes&uot; vote.

According to the new ordinance, the American Village District is intended and established to provide a zone in which The Village’s Citizenship Trust is allowed to re-create or establish historically inspired structures, streets and support

improvements for educational, historical and cultural-related support

services, special events and tourism.

&uot;The Gateway Commercial District is intended to serve as the Highway 119 corridor entrance leading to the Gateway Transitional Commercial, the agricultural and open spaces along the Highway 119 corridor and to the city of Montevallo. Commercial uses are allowed under architectural and special guidelines.&uot;

Permitted and non-permitted uses are the same as Highway Commercial. And architectural standards are listed under the Gateway Traditional District.

Architectural standards in the American Village District include:

&uot;1. Construction shall respect the overall streetscape and preserve and enhance natural features present on the site.

&uot;2. New construction shall reflect traditional American architectural styles documented by authoritative sources and references.

&uot;3. Any and all incidental commercial activities shall employ and adapt traditional architectural styles.

&uot;4. Construction shall encourage intimacy of scale by breaking long facades with architectural elements and use of traditional style doors and windows with muntins and mullons, avoiding excessive window glazing.

&uot;5. The use of flat roof typical strip mall or center retail development is not permitted. A variety of elements, such as facade designs, paint colors, mixing of facade materials, windows, shutters, doors and other elements are required where structures are clustered units.

&uot;6. Parking shall be incidental to and preferably to the rear or side of the structure it being the intent that the front of the properties adjacent Highway 119 shall be dominated by natural land and by construction which is of the traditional styles noted above. Generally, parking may also be managed by vegetation and tree berms, which shield parking lots from highway visibility.

&uot;7. Site lighting shall be from concealed light fixtures or from general non-concealed lighting fixtures associated with traditional styles of architecture noted above.&uot;

Also, according to the ordinance: &uot;The Montevallo Gateway Corridor Overlay District is established to preserve, protect, enhance and maintain the aesthetic, cultural, historical, scenic, architectural and other significant elements of the Highway 119 gateway corridor into the city of Montevallo. This district is intended to ensure that this major access corridor is developed and maintained in a harmonious and compatible manner, and is also intended to encourage the improvement of architectural and visual character of this corridor.&uot;

The boundaries of the district extend from Moore’s Crossroads south to Cherokee Street.

The compromise reported previously is also included in this section.

According to the ordinance, &uot;The corridor district shall preserve existing green space, natural areas, views and other contributing aesthetic elements. The city deems that the protection of these spaces will enhance the appeal of the corridor to residents and visitors alike, and will endure that the corridor can support expanded vehicular use without sacrificing the rural backdrop which make the corridor special to the city.&uot;

Also: &uot;Fencing of open spaces and natural area is permitted by traditional fencing styles (split rail, rail, picket, wood post and barb wire etc.) associated with agricultural and rural areas provided that the installation of additional chain link fences are not permitted parallel to Highway 119 unless shielded by vegetation.&uot;

Prior to Monday night’s vote, a work session was held at Montevallo City Hall on April 10 on the proposed zoning ordinance amendment.

Present were Mayor Parker, Councilmembers Anderson, Goldsmith, Pendleton and Lightfoot.

Also attending were Tom Walker, Catherine Legg, Mimi Lawley, Ben McCrory, Tom Bagley, Linda Long, Barbara Sloan and city attorney Steve Sears.

During the meeting, Bagley of the Ammersee Lakes Subdivision presented his objection to the overlay requirements for commercial areas in the amended zoning.

He suggested the 20-foot overlay as opposed to the 40-foot requirement