By Gary Lloyd
The Trussville Planning and Zoning Board on Monday approved a new downtown master plan.
The board also approved of recommending amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance for downtown development and amendments to the city’s sign ordinance to include regulations for downtown to the Trussville City Council, which has final say on the ordinances.
KPS Group’s Jason Fondren was on hand to describe the plan and answer questions from audience members. Fondren said plan implementation includes flood mitigation projects, traffic and streetscape improvements, a public shared parking system, business support and recruitment, and downtown zoning and design standards.
“This is what’s most important,” Fondren said.
The main goals of the plan are to make it easier to get around town; concentrate shopping, dining and cultural experiences in the downtown area; mitigate flooding problems; and implement a design for a consistent, safe and attractive downtown.
The main component of the new revitalization plan involves a major redesign of downtown Trussville, with the primary focus being placed on road construction and commercial property. This project span extends from Kay Avenue on the west side of downtown to the Cahaba River on the east side. It also extends north of U.S. Highway 11 to Hewitt Street and down to the railroad tracks on the south side of downtown.
The downtown plan also aims to create more green spaces and walkways throughout the main downtown sector. Parking issues would be addressed by creating shared parking lots and street parking where applicable.
Other visions for the future downtown would make the space friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians, encouraging shops and restaurants to open business in the new district.
Analysis of community feedback indicates that the community would positively respond to more family clothing stores, dining facilities and creative spaces like art galleries and studios. As it is, the development group said last year the downtown area is not concise in design or function.
Some proposed ideas for a more consistent design would involve creating new zoning in the downtown area with specific design guidelines. The proposed image of the new downtown would create a more inviting, uniform space for storefronts, giving the area a more consistent, functional look.
Fondren said possible financial incentives for business recruitment include tax abatements, waived or reduced fees such as building permits and business licenses, and public parking development. He said the biggest incentive, though, is “taking action on the plan.”
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