Our Area Master Plan V.1

Join us at the Optimist Recreation Center (703 Oakwood Ave. NE) on June 12th from 6-8PM for a reveal Small Area Master Plan.

Over the past eight months, city planning staff in coordination with the Northeast Huntsville Civic Association and the Five Points Historic District Association gathered opinions and ideas from residents in a series of public meetings to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. unnamed-13

This will be an open house-style event with no formal presentations or exercises, so you may come and go as you please. Staff from many departments will be represented.

The plan highlights several issues considered important by the residents of the study area, including:

Parks: Residents identified the neighborhood parks and Land Trust access as a strength of their community, but some improvements can be made. Come and tell staff how you want to use the parks: Bierne Park, Oak Park, Philpot Park, and Lewter Park.

Streetscape: Improving streets in accordance with the new city-wide Complete Streets policy. Come find out what that means and how you want to use the ribbons of asphalt and concrete in the area.

Pedestrian Connectivity: Highlighting new sidewalks and crosswalks to make access to amenities easier and safer. If you were in charge of spending limited $$, what are the priorities?

Zoning: Encouraging development that complements the surrounding architecture and land uses. What should houses and stores look like? Is there enough diversity?

This plan is still a draft, and comments will be gathered at the meeting.

BONUS:

Charles Marohn, renowned civil engineer turned city planner,  will be in town on June 14th, from 5-7 pm at the Museum of Art.

https://www.strongtowns.org/eventspage/2018/6/14/huntsville-al

 

Priorities and Preferences

Our vision for improvements in our area begins to take shape with the help of professional planners and engineering staff.  Imagine if Andrew Jackson Way had stores and apartments above them as in this picture; a lot of people liked that configuration! This sort of preference can/may lead to new zoning policy to make it a bit easier for a developer with vision to accomplish the makeover.

 

Check out the results of the last two meetings here:

http://bigpicturehuntsville.com/five-points-northeast/

We live in the BEST city in the state because leaders and residents show up and communicate!

tweed, a need, a list, a market and

the Tweed

The inaugural Tweed Ride on Nov 12th was a hit! Mike Smith came from Madison with his penny-farthing, sitting atop his saddle at 8 ft tall.  He did the entire loop!

 

tweed riding

classic clothes for classic event

The riders came from all points of the compass and they discovered the businesses on Meridian Street- our western border of our service area. At the end of the ride, the staff at Mad Malts welcomed everyone with fire pits and smiles, the Josh Couts Jazz Band warmed spirits, and the two food trucks Beast Mode and Doctor BBQ were a great complement to one another.  If the joy of bicycling is something you want to promote for our area and you will help out for the next ride, contact Brandy at

tweedridehsv@gmail.com

Brandy is intentional about building a group who will keep it going.  In this, the inaugural event, the NE Hsv Civic Association contributed some money and provided the hot tea in the park along. This type of riding is an international phenomenon.

more Pictures:click here

Incidentally, George Hamilton of Old Town hosts a casual bike ride held on the last Sunday of the month. Gather at Huntville Middle School and leave at 2 pm, for a short distance 6-8 miles.  The pace is conversational, no spandex needed.  Sorta like a mini tweed ride, w/out the old fashioned clothes.

A Need

The Homeowners Association of Saddletree needs an audit of its books  by a Public Accountant.  If you know an accountant who is a CPA or works at a CPA firm and will review the ‘books’ for this group either free or for a nominal fee, please contact the president of the HOA, Ms. Sherri Rhoads rhoads.sherrie@comcast.net  

A List 

A great community of  all of NE starts with your block!

If you are a member and you get something going for the benefit of the neighbors on the few blocks near you, we may be able to help you with some materials and perhaps a little money and PR. Contact us!  nehsvcivicassn@gmail.com  We have a small “exec” committee so our decisions don’t take long.  
 

A Market

Chapman School Merry Market Sat. Dec 9th 10 am – 2 pm

 The teachers at Chapman sold booths to raise money for the National Junior Honor Society for a trip to Memphis to see the National Civil Rights Museum and The University of Mississippi, as well as the Greenpower Team and the Chapman Cheerleaders. There are many holiday markets, but this one will benefit our future leaders! Please pop over:
Chapman Market.jpg
A few more helpful ( I hope so ) tidbits:
Be sure to use See Click Fix to report pot holes, street lights out, illegal dumping, zombie houses, etc, anywhere in our city.  Open an account and use it often.
Contact the Community Watch Association to find out who is organizing a watch group for your area.  We know that members Joe Jefferson and Jean Arndt are spending lots of time on that.  Thank you!
Sign our petition to obtain Public Access on-line to current crime reports.  Our city is far behind on what is standard operating procedure in many cities, including Nashville.
Please stay healthy…let’s get some Vitamin D and some exercise!  Everyone can park at the Oak Park fields and do some hiking from the trailhead there, it’s beautiful!  Please help Scott Akridge with the improvements and maintenance of the trails; all hands welcome. Tools provided.  Either send Scott a note via nehsvcivicassn@gmail.com OR sign up for notices of work days: Just send a text TRAIL to 84463.  This work is a commitment we make as Trail Care Partners of the Land Trust.  Did we mention that we FEED our volunteers, thanks to Ted’s BBQ and Galens!
 Brunswick stew for the crew!
Oak Park Trails

Oak Park Trails behind the concession stand of eastern-most baseball field

Lastly, we spent a little money from our account to thank our Firefighters for their service, too.  We delivered a Smoked Whole Turkey from TED’s BBQ to station # 2. They like That kind of smoke! Please keep your space heaters away from other objects! (And consider updating your electric wiring if you live in a house built in the late 50’s or the 60’s.)
Fire Station 2

Stephanie Pinto can smell the good kind of smoke- turkey  from Ted’s BBQ

Big Picture, Big Deal? Yep, for the king and queen of the castles.

To: Your Highnesses of Five Points and All other Points in NE Huntsville, being kings and queens of your castle

From:Your humble and professional Staff of Huntsville Planning and Zoning and the elected leads of the NE Huntsville Civic Association

You are invited to the first Big Picture planning session for our small area, to scheme and dream of the perfect community surrounding your castle, and to clarify what you want done with our tax dollars and contributions earmarked for the city budget!

Join the BIG Picture planning session on October 17th at 6PM at the Cooper House (405 Randolph Ave. SE).  You will be able to participate in interactive exercises to help your civil servants create a Small Area Master Plan for the neighborhoods. This event is free and open to the public. People who RENT or Own Rentals are also welcome! 

Before the meeting, please consider asking yourself: “When money is no object, and I am in charge, I will ( build, tear down, improve) ___________ for my community.  What do I enjoy most about the area and what do I want to improve? What are the opportunities to create a close knit, healthy community?   What will I spent my cajillion dollars on?

Is this worthwhile?

Your highness, as king and queen of your castle, be assured this process is important because it will inform future capital expenditures in the area.

For example, so far:

  • the Ditto Landing Master Plan resulted in new programming and construction on the river

and

  • the Downtown Master Plan fostered new private investment in housing and commercial services, and at the commoner’s street level, the construction of dedicated bike lane and improved walk ways.

Planning staff has identified six principles that will guide the final plan:

  • Build a Live/Work/Thrive Community
  • Expand a Sustainable, Resilient Economy
  • Design a Mobile and Accessible Transportation Network
  • Maintain a Network of Exceptional Education
  • Support Local Arts and Culture
  • Develop Healthy and Active Neighborhoods

Small Area Plans are created from public input and are tailored to the unique challenges facing neighborhoods and opportunity sites. Do mark your calendar, your highness:

Oct. 17, 6 pm, at the Cooper House (405 Randolph Ave. SE)

Special thanks to the Central Presbyterian Church for the use of their facility. 

More information on this event and the BIG Picture can be found at

http://bigpicturehuntsville.com/

Each Block a Village

VillageOur villages are changing, especially in in Five Points- for now.  Smallish mill-village houses are replaced by 30 ft. tall houses covering 40% of a 40 x 100 ft. lot.   Cottages in a commercial zone are torn down on Pratt and sit fallow-for now.  Some say we are under siege by developers and builders, others see simple business opportunity in the adage location, location, location.

During the special meeting on July 26 with the director of current zoning regulations,  we learned that there are no back-room special deals going on nor any secret subdivision of property in Five Points.  The “Big Four” on Pratt are built on narrow, deep lots that exist by plat made in 1892. The previous house was built across the lot lines.   The town homes on Dement are also built “by right” in a higher density zone of R2,
west of Andrew Jackson, by submitting construction plans and applying for a building permit.

We learned that all property in Five Points east of Andrew Jackson is zoned for single family homes, even where the apartment buildings and trailer court stand.  When an apartment building is renovated, it can remain, but if it is torn down, the owner must receive a variance through public hearing to replace the apartments otherwise only single family homes can go on the land.  As for the land where Emma’s tea room stood, the front of the parcel is still zoned commercial, the back facing the athletic field is residential.  Any change to that arrangement is by public hearing at the Planning Commission.

After the special meeting, a small think tank of residents convened to discuss how the culture of our mill villages may be preserved.  People bought in Five Points because it is eclectic and people still set a spell on their front porch and wave.  Thinkers asked: How might new construction occur while preserving the village culture?  These residents  also convened to list their preferences for ways to improve the quality of life in the area.  Their thoughts and preferences are a great jump start for All of Us to participate in the making of a Neighborhood Master Plan that will guide priorities for city budget expenditures and public/private joint ventures.

The first opportunity get together to put a pencil to topics such as housing, roads, parks, business districts, and more is on OCTOBER 17, location to be announced.

Progress for Northeast

In July of 2016, we submitted a list of items to the Mayor, City Administrator, and the Department Managers for improving NE Hsv, and we asked for commitment to these items beginning in October 2016.  They discussed each item and reported quickly that “some [items] are going to require a little more analysis, some are significantly more expensive than was estimated, and some are reliant on a few other things being completed, and a few we can hit right away”.  A progress report on each item is as follows:

Re-stripe Oakwood Ave. to improve safety for residents on Oakwood Ave in the 40 mph section This topic was a popular on nextdoor.com and on “Imagine Huntsville” message boards.  The realignment of lanes can happen when the road is repaved because the stripes are melded in the road surface!  City-wide repaving is based on a scoring system from 10 to 60.  Roads ranked in the ’40’s are put in the queue for city council approval.  This section of Oakwood is currently in the 20’s.  It is estimated to be five years, maybe less, for resurfacing.  In the interim, Traffic Engineers will study the overall patterns to make sure that a reconfiguration of stripes would not mess up the overall traffic flow in the area.

Bus Shelters on Andrew Jackson  Did you know there are 12 bus stops on this street? Yet there are no bus stop shelters, and most of us agree that we want to encourage use of buses as an investment in our overall economic development.  Parking and Transit is able to install at least one on the street pending approval of a site near the heaviest ridership: one at Jackson Way Baptist Church/Dollar General and another near Hardee’s. Transit representatives will be in touch with private property owners in the next few weeks.  By the way, the buses are clean and provide a pleasant experience, thanks to the drivers’ sense of customer service.

Safe Pedestrian Crossings  We asked for pedestrian-centric systems in the Five Points business district and adjacent to the Optimist Rec Center.  The latter site meets everyone’s goal for connecting pedestrians of all ages to the built environment, in this case, the pavilion, playground and gyms.  Mid-block crossings have to meet federal guidelines. Traffic Engineering will undertake a study this year for the proposed crossing to see if it would meet standards.

Philpot Park  We asked for ways to increase foot traffic to the pocket park; that is, more reasons to walk to the wonderful open space.  The dog park idea was nixed, but the other ideas stuck. Immediately after the city’s meeting, Parks and Rec manager Steve Ivey sent soccer goals to encourage pick-up games.  P&R staff also ordered balance and strength fitness stations for all ages and will create an attractive area next to the lil’ kids play equipment under the trees. Site work is underway and the Water Fountain is Working now!

Oak Park  We asked to convert a small field to a dog park and using the concession stands for public art.  The answer is “Not now” for the dog park, but when there is a more clearly articulated art project to enliven the grey block buildings, they will listen!  Maybe the area can serve as mini-plazas with a fountain and mosaics?  We will have to think of ways to raise money to make it happen. Let us know what you have in mind if you want to see the concession stands look lively.

Optimist Park The idea of having an out-door movie screen on hand for community use on the pavilion grounds didn’t fly, but the request for an on-line reservation system resonated.  This request gave the P&R department more reason to finalize their plans for on-line reservations.  BTW, can anyone make a Little Free Library box for Optimist or at Max Luther rec center? We have the green light to make one at these sites.

Neighborhood Planning and Zoning  We asked again for a commitment to set a date for a series of meetings so that we can get more clarity on the needs for the area and the quality of life that we want. For example, what ifthere was a pop up seasonal shopping center next to Chapman Pool or a small village of Tiny Houses on High Mountain Road.  January is the goal now for the meetings.  Stay updated on nextdoor.com or subscribe to our blog.

Please call to ask about these items and please stay in touch to improve our community in one of the 5 S’s:

Safety, Security, Shelter, Schools, Sports and Smiles! 

Contact us Here