Alabaster, Planning Commission win award for 119 overlay

Published 11:13 am Thursday, October 4, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The city of Alabaster and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham recently received an honor for their plans to determine the future appearance of one of the city’s main corridors.

The Alabama chapter of the American Planning Association recently awarded the Planning Commission and the city with its 2018 Outstanding Award for a Project or Implementation Tool for the two entities’ efforts to develop and enact the Alabama 119 overlay district and design guidelines in 2017.

The overlay district will determine the overall appearance of all future developments along the nearly four-mile stretch of Alabama 119 between U.S. 31 and Shelby County 80.

In addition to the Main Street Medical Mile district, which is in place on U.S. 31 surrounding Shelby Baptist Medical Center, the Alabama 119 overlay plan was one of the main recommendations in Alabaster’s five-year comprehensive plan, which was approved in 2016.

The 119 overlay will “create a more uniform, aesthetically pleasing appearance,” and would “avoid the undesirable consequences of haphazard planning,” Planning Commission representative Lindsay Puckett told Alabaster Planning and Zoning Commission members previously. It will apply only to parcels within 500 feet of the center line of Alabama 119, and all current structures in the corridor were grandfathered in.

The overlay plan applies to new developments in the corridor, and major expansions or renovations increasing a building’s value by 50 percent or more. Some of the overlay requirements will apply to expansions or renovations increasing a building’s value by between 25 percent and 50 percent.

The plan also lays out prohibited uses, such as auto repair facilities, automobile dealerships, certain types of dwellings, flea markets and temporary vendors, and lays out which types of building materials should be used for future developments or major expansions.

The overlay also requires any new buildings in the corridor to be set back between 20 and 70 feet from the front of the property, which is a smaller setback than currently allowed in the city. Puckett said the smaller setback will prevent buildings from having vast parking lots between them and the highway.