The Big Picure: Your Study. Your Vision. Your Plan for the City of Huntsville


  • Recognizing that good design can help a community become and stay competitive, commercial nodes and corridors have partnered with the City of Huntsville to shape the aesthetics of their specific districts.


For a community that is interested in addressing aesthetic concerns, Design Guidelines are a common tool.  Design Guidelines can be built into zoning, or can overlay existing zoning, and they can address everything from how a building faces the street to what colors and materials can be used on it. The scope of the guidelines can be tailored to suit the goals of a specific community, corridor or neighborhood; to that end, they should be initiated by the community affected as part of a public discussion with the City.


Design Guidelines can regulate the form of a building itself, as well as the nature of the public space around it. Building form can deal with height and massing, as well as the relationship of the building to the sidewalk, street, parking, and other buildings. Public space design guidelines can address the width and design of the sidewalks and parks, as well as the location of service and utilities.


Design Guidelines should be initiated by a local interest – including but not limited to Business or Civic Associations – and completed in coordination with the City’s Planning Department.  They should be completed in concert with a small area plan or strategic plan for the area in question. After design guidelines have been implemented for a specific corridor or district, development decisions on the City’s part should be made with respect to those guidelines.


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    Develop a standard procedure for business associations and civic associations to request the creation and implementation of design guidelines for their respective areas.

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    Complete a pilot guidelines project – preferably in an older, established area of the City – as a demonstration project.

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    Implement design guidelines in cooperation with local business associations and civic associations, targeting areas that are seeing – or may soon see – reinvestment likely to alter the existing character of the corridor or district.

Last modified: November 1st, 2018 at 2:29 pm