Board approves comprehensive plan

After two years of tweaking and re-tweaking, the Montevallo Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved the city’s comprehensive plan during a special called meeting Oct. 29 at City Hall.

A public hearing was held prior to the board’s vote.

The 27-page plan primarily focuses on future land use, and according to public opinion, “growth should be directed into and absorbed by downtown.” Concentrating growth downtown allows the city to maintain its rural landscape.

“Using this strategy, Montevallo is positioned to create vibrant, walkable neighborhoods while minimizing the loss of its valued ‘countryside portrait’ that is so typical of growth through sprawl,” the plan states.

The plan’s action items on land use include developing regulations and incentives for guiding new growth. However, there were no action items about transportation, historic preservation, economic development and tourism.

Councilwoman Hollie Cost cited the lack of action items as a concern.

“It seems a little noncongruent that (the plan) doesn’t go into minute detail,” Cost said.

Board member Becky Cox-Rogers said the planning and zoning board is solely responsible for land use, and the remaining action items fall under other city and county entities.

Cost later cited the absence of the plan’s appendix, which is four times as long as the plan itself. Board member Charles Turner said several items were placed in the appendix to make the plan reader-friendly to potential developers.

“We wanted a small number of pages of direct information about what the city wants to do as far as development,” Turner said. (A developer) needs a simple document to explore whether he wants to develop within the city of Montevallo.”

Though the plan has been approved, the next administration will oversee the plan’s implementation and amendments may be made as necessary.

One resident feared if the plan had not been approved, “our children will be on the board discussing it.”

The plan can be accessed on the city’s Web site, www.cityofmontevallo.com, under the headings “Planning and Zoning” and “Postings.”