Open houses to address Calera comprehensive plan

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

CALERA — Calera residents are encouraged to attend two open houses regarding a comprehensive plan for the city of Calera scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 27 at City Hall and Thursday, Sept. 24 at Concord Baptist Church.

The purpose of the open houses will be to collect input from residents based on their individual and collective visions for how they want to see Calera develop and grow. Both meetings will be “come-and-go” style, and the time for both dates is from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The open houses are part of a partnership between the city and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPCGB).

“Highlights of the plan are going to be what the people living in Calera want the highlights to be. These plans are supposed to be by and for the people,” said Samuel Parsons, community planner with RPCGB. “They are supposed to be developed based on the input of the people living there. It’s a very democratic process. A comprehensive plan is just a roadmap for making long and short range policy decisions that will help the city.”

Parsons said the “come-and-go” style meetings will not follow a rigid schedule or formal presentation. Attendees will be able to speak directly with the planning team, learn about the process, and obtain input through a variety of interactive activities.

Masks and social distancing will be required, but those who wish to stay home can offer their input online at Plancalera.com, Parsons said.

“There’s a survey where they can map their ideas with an online mapping tool, and there’s also some interactive forums where they can voice their ideas and concerns with more detail,” Parsons explained. “Anything they can do at the public open house they can also do online.”

Focal points of such comprehensive plans include future land use, as well as policies and actions that carry out the city’s vision in areas such as economic development, parks and recreation, transportation and infrastructure, and more.

Input from the people will be distilled down to recommendations, policies and actions, at which point the plan will be revised based on a new round of suggestions. Then, a document voicing the comprehensive plan will be presented to the Calera Planning Commission for adoption and then to the City Council for endorsement.

Parsons said it is critical for residents to participate in the open houses or online survey.
“People just want to see their community remain stable, grow at a manageable rate and remain a healthy and viable community, and we are here to help them see that that comes to pass,” he said. “We want to make sure that everyone’s vision is taken into account.”

Calera City Hall is located at 7901 U.S. 31, and Concord Baptist Church is located at 11215 Co. Rd. 22.

This existing land use map shows how property is used throughout the city of Calera (Contributed / Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham).