Shelby County seeking public involvement in comprehensive plan process

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

Shelby County leaders are asking for residents’ input on how they want to see different facets of the county progress in the next 20 years.

The Shelby County Department of Development Services is starting the process of creating the county’s next comprehensive plan, a resource designed to guide future growth related to residential development, parks and recreation, land use, transportation, natural resources, economic development, quality of life and public facilities.

“Our comprehensive plan is an opportunity for citizens of Shelby County and the businesses and local governments to provide feedback on how they want to see Shelby County grow,” Shelby County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “What amenities and resources do they want to see develop in Shelby County over the next decade? The goal of the comprehensive plan is to continue the proper growth of the county.”

Scroggins said the last comprehensive plan in 2004 and the original 1996 development plan for the county led to the development of many of the county’s parks in the last 25 years.

The new comprehensive plan will address objectives and projections for the next two decades in Shelby County, which encompasses 808 square miles of land, 17 municipalities and a population of about 223,000.

“This will help us shape and guide budgets and where we’re going to apply the resources,” Scroggins said. “Our goal is to take the resources the people provide and serve the people with those resources. We definitely want to get that feedback so we know how to serve them better.”

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham is assisting the county with the process, which will take about 12-18 months to complete.

A significant part of the planning process is public participation. An online survey will be used to gather critical information from residents and businesses in Shelby County.

The project website, Planshelbyal.com, contains plan information to keep residents up-to-date on scheduled events, deadlines and potential activities to be involved in the process.

“A steering committee will be formed to promote outreach objectives throughout the comprehensive plan process,” the website reads in part. “By utilizing a combination of web-based and in-person engagement tools and techniques, the public will shape the future of Shelby County.”

The website serves as the primary link for public involvement with a direct link to the survey.

Scroggins said the county also works with its municipalities to incorporate feedback they receive on their individual comprehensive plans.

“We want to take this opportunity to get feedback back from our residents,” he said. “There certainly will be some amazing ideas that will come out of this process that we can use to shape where we’re going in the future.”