Chelsea approves U.S. 280 overlay district

Published 2:30 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019

CHELSEA – The Chelsea City Council approved an overlay district for U.S. 280 and Shelby County 280 (Old Hwy. 280) in the city at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Lindsay Puckett with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham said previously that the purpose of the district, which is added onto current zoning, is to prevent undesirable consequences of poorly managed growth.

“The goal is to create a more aesthetically pleasing corridor so that when you come through Chelsea, you know you have arrived,” Puckett said.

A public hearing was held prior to the Council’s vote, with no one speaking for or against the measure.

The overlay district applies to new development on commercial or mixed use properties. Certain renovations or improvements to existing developments would also trigger the restrictions.

The areas that are included in the overlay district is 993 acres and 193 parcels stretching from Dunnavant Valley Road to Shelby County 51.

Included in the overlay district are:

  • Building standards. The overlay district establishes both minimum (40 feet) and maximum (80 feet) front setback lines, and establishes a minimum first floor height of 12 feet to create a more welcoming experience.
  • Architectural treatment standards. Facades of buildings would be delineated to create a recognizable base, middle and top of buildings; and certain building materials would be prohibited (including unpainted concrete block, plywood, plastics, metal and vinyl siding).
  • Access standards. New development would adhere to the Alabama Department of Transportation 2014 Access Management Manual, cross access would be required and joint access would be encouraged.
  • Parking standards. Surface parking would be focused on the side or rear of buildings, lighting would be no more than 16 feet above ground and certain types of lighting styles would be prohibited.
  • Screening, fence and wall standards. HVAC and trash receptacles would be located to the side or back of properties and concealed, new walls and fences would not exceed 4 feet and could only be constructed with permitted materials including brick, masonry and ornamental iron.
  • Grading and drainage standards. Grassed swales would be encouraged to manage storm water instead of open ditches, and retaining walls that exceed 8 feet should be screened with vegetation.
  • Planting standards. A minimum size and spacing requirement for shade trees would be established, and planting materials would come from an approved planting materials list.

The new standards go into effect on Thursday, Feb. 21.

For more information about the overlay district, visit

In other business, the Council:

  • Approved the appointment of both Bert Seitz and Billy Sanders to the city’s planning commission.
  • Authorized a contract with CivicPlus for a website redesign.
  • Approved annexations of properties off Dorough Road (3.12 acres), Forest Lakes Drive (0.18 acres) and two properties off Shelby County 51 (17.07 acres and 30.56 acres).