Montevallo citizens, leaders get together to discuss comprehensive plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Montevallo residents gathered recently for the second time recently to work toward a comprehensive plan for the their city.

Although the crowd participation was less than for the first public meeting to work on a comprehensive plan, about 62 people showed up to work with representatives from the Shelby County Department of Developmental Services and others to list strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing Montevallo as it tries to plan for controlled growth.

Strengths were such assets as the University of Montevallo, the American Village, natural surroundings and a small town atmosphere.

Weaknesses tended to be lack of shared vision, lack of communication, too much low income housing, a weak tax base and lack of code enforcement.

Opportunities including such things as the comprehensive planning process the city is undertaking.

And threats seemed to follow the theme of weaknesses.

The following is a look at what citizens were saying as they tried to fill the various categories upon which to build a comprehensive plan.

A sampling of strengths included nearness to Birmingham, the University of Montevallo, history, built-in consumers from the University of Montevallo faculty and staff, the American Village, the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum, the pending National Cemetery, park system, library, Shoal Creek, abundant water, low crime rate, open spaces, cultural events, natural surroundings, fine arts, the arts council, small town atmosphere, industry, golf course, fire department, rural Highway 119 drive, diversity of religions, migratory bird route, potential for growth, the Chamber of Commerce, walking trails, Tingle Wood (carved trees), Davis Falls.

Weaknesses included community identity, no public pool, lack of public communication, gap in affordable housing, lack of shared vision, too much low income housing, bedroom community attitude, limited collaboration between the city and the University of Montevallo, poor public schools, ordinance implementation, truck traffic, lack of architectural control, lack of vacant property, no tourism center, lack of environmental protection, degradation of streams and swamp, lack of attitude to raise taxes/revenues, weak tax base, lack of revenues, industrial park too small, lack of commercial business to support the community, lack of positive public relations, lack of consistent planning, lack of nuisance abatement, code enforcement, lack of sidewalk in residential areas, confusing zoning ordinance, quality of water, lack of enforcement of drug laws, lack of annexation strategy, need leash law for dogs.

Opportunities were to promote tourism, have hotels, bed and breakfast facilities, have smart growth, Main Street, bring in new business, revitalization of downtown, high end apartments, Stephens Park improvements, retirement village, back yard community, four-lane Highway 119, truck by-pass, capitalize on small town and comprehensive plan.

Threats included runaway residential development and growth, sprawl, lack of architectural controls, lack of political leadership, traffic, maintaining the status quo, annexation by other areas, unplanned growth, air pollution, increased taxes, water/sewer rates, depletion of water sources, loss of natural areas, growth upstream, higher crime rate, loss of consumer base, transitional population, impending financial trouble, loss of downtown character, Montgomery, inaction, controversy, traffic nightmare, aging infrastructure, patchwork spot zoning, lack of community participation, divisions within community, not taking advantage of the window of opportunity, manufactured homes, too much low income housing, tax base, welfare community, big trucks, no stable revenues.

The results and the next step in the process will be taken in another meeting on March 9 at 7 p.m. at Orr Park