Athens FLUP – a success or FLOP?
The Athens City Planning Department recently went through an extensive set of activities and exercises in support of a Future Land Use and Development Plan (FLUP).
The activities included a survey, focus group and a series of workshops, which lead to a vision. The entire effort was undertaken to support planning and the management of future growth over the next 10 years.
As presented to the Athens Planning Commission on April 16, the results of these efforts reflect that a very heavy emphasis should be placed on the downtown area commonly known as the Square, and not much elsewhere. So in response to these findings, let’s keep Athens small and minimize conflicts, eliminate most growth, reduce the potential for increases in city revenue and not support the creation of any real new opportunities.
By taking the following actions we can greatly simplify and reduce the cost to Athens for the implementation and management of the FLUP process:
• Tie the vision as developed directly to the FLUP and place the entire emphasis on developing and cleaning up the Square area of downtown (which generates very little tax revenue in comparison to other Athens business locations).
• Manage all growth from the core area of Athens outward, and only incur the cost of land management when it is required.
• Do an excellent job of continuing to beautify and maintain the downtown infrastructure.
• Don’t expand any city services outside of what exists to promote any meaningful growth.
• Don’t promote the growth of residential housetops with their resulting benefits.
• Don’t incur the expense of bringing big box or any other retail to Athens, and take advantage of what Huntsville, Madison and Decatur’s growth will bring from the East and South side.
• Support the city and Limestone County in buying up taxable downtown infrastructure.
• Finally, do not coordinate with other governmental entities regarding North Central Alabama’s opportunities for growth.
In closing, don’t worry about a vision for Athens and its future growth. Be happy knowing the Athens City Council, the mayor, his administration and the powers that be will do an excellent job and take care of it for you, and by implementing the above actions the average citizen won’t even have to become involved at all.