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Montevallo residents express vision for future

By FRED GUARINO / Staff Writer

(Updated: Tuesday, April 4, 2006 3:23 PM CDT)

Montevallo residents say they want to see a focused downtown and village center community core which would include Main Street, a truck bypass and an American Village and University of Montevallo Special District.

At least that’s the vision, or development scenario, most residents agreed upon, according to representatives of the Shelby County Department of Development Services.

They reviewed the results of public input into the development of a comprehensive plan during the final public involvement meeting of three with city officials, Developmental Services and Bob House of House Consultants Inc.

James Ponseti of long-range planning said the vision of Montevallo residents was not unlike that of Fairhope, Ala., residents.

Fairhope was one of the top three cities selected by Montevallo participants. The other two were Boulder, Colo., and Franklin, Tenn.

Ponseti said the idea is, “making Montevallo all it can be. Montevallo has the bones, just put the meat back on the bones.”

The second most popular scenario included a commercial, largely community core, downtown, a small village and neighborhood core and Moore’s Crossroad focus areas, with high density around core areas, an American Village, University of Montevallo and Industrial Special District, a transition area from lower density residences and a bypass with restricted land use for rural landscape and transitional residential green areas.

Kristine Goddard also of the county’s long-range planning department, said residents saw strengths of Montevallo to include the university, The American Village, the park system, a centralized location and an occupied Main Street.

Weaknesses, she said, included minimal or no code enforcement, lack of planning for future growth, lack of property maintenance, the school system (grades six through 12) and a lack of true housing diversity in the core area.

Opportunities, Goddard said, include promotion of the city’s uniqueness, outdoor recreation, planned growth and educational outreach program.

Among threats, Goddard said, residents listed unplanned growth, tax base depreciation, an apathetic and uneducated public and truck traffic.

Ponseti said the Moore’s Crossroad Village could reflect The American Village but be a place where people reside.

He said the bypass shows a desire to push traffic away from downtown.

Ponseti said the land use maps are “a vision of what a future could be like,” indicating that a planning map is only one part of a comprehensive plan to guide decision-making for the future.

“Your zoning should reflect your comprehensive plan and not the opposite,” Ponseti said. “Remember ... if you don’t know where you’re going, any road can get you there.”