- Land-use and infrastructure performance has been improved by prioritizing ‘greyfield’ redevelopment over new ‘greenfield’ development.
- ‘Gaps’ in incorporated boundaries have been filled in.
- Sustainable growth patterns that support economic development, efficient infrastructure, and quality-of-life targets.
At just over 218 square miles in 2018, Huntsville’s land area ranks among the top 30 cities in the U.S. with populations over 100,000. While Huntsville’s large geographical size offers definite benefits, particularly with regard to shaping development patterns, it also comes with challenges. Providing services to an area that is significantly larger in size than Philadelphia (with only a ninth of its population) can strain the resources of any number of departments, including, but by no means limited to, Police, Fire and Sanitation.
Another significant challenge is how to address the concerns of older, core neighborhoods and developments. As new growth has extended toward the perimeter of the metro, some existing centers have experienced disinvestment and blight. To spur reinvestment in the core, the City should be more strategic in the review of any annexation proposal and should enable/encourage reuse of existing sites over construction on unbuilt/unserved sites.
Annexation should continue in cases where the economic development or quality of life interests of the community would be well-served. Examples include recruitment of large-scale, employment-generating industrial/high-tech projects; multi-acre mixed-use developments (not unlike the Village of Providence or similar Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TNDs) that offer a self-sustaining blend of uses); and greenspace or floodway preserves that could be converted into recreation areas. In these cases – when growth adds sustained revenue and civic amenities – annexation is warranted.
Give special consideration to any project or effort that repurposes aging and underperforming properties, particularly large, single-use office and commercial developments.
Conduct feasibility study to assess the potential need for a public services annex in the Limestone County portion of Huntsville.
Continue to assess small annexation requests (< 3.0 acres) on a case-by-case basis.
Assess larger requests by the following criteria:
- Does the property have a Development Plan in place?
- Is the planned development ‘self-sustaining’? That is, does the potential revenue generated by the proposed development meet or exceed the anticipated City expense within a reasonable timeframe?
- Is the proposed plan consistent with the adjacent context? Would it complement the existing or anticipated context?
- Does the proposed plan help meet an economic development or quality of life goal? Is it consistent with one or more of the Principles?
- If there is existing development on the parcel(s), is it consistent with the context and/or design intent of the surrounding City land? Does it have the potential to be redeveloped into an alternate use?
- If there are design guidelines in place for the area, is the proposed or existing use consistent with those guidelines?
Update the previously-adopted “Master Plan for Western Annexed Land – Huntsville/Limestone County, AL” (often referred to as “the Sasaki Plan”) and coordinate with Limestone and Madison Counties and the City of Madison on future street network.