Chelsea Planning Commission recommends comprehensive plan for approval

CHELSEA – The Chelsea Planning Commission on July 27 conducted a public hearing for the city’s comprehensive plan before approving a final draft to recommend to the City Council for adoption.

During the hearing, Community Planner Samuel Parsons with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham presented an overview of the comprehensive plan, called PlanChelsea, a policy document to be used as a roadmap by city leaders, developers, business owners and residents as they make decisions about future growth, development, policy and capital improvements over the next 15 years.

The comprehensive plan was developed based on public input, data analysis and meetings with residents, officials and other stakeholders who served on committees, took surveys and shared ideas during a 12-month period.

“The whole purpose of the comprehensive plan is to help you make well-informed zoning and land use decisions,” Parsons said, noting it is different than a zoning ordinance in that it is a guide, not the law. “They work together, but they serve different functions.”

The plan contains seven chapters – Introduction, Chelsea Today, Future Land Use, Economic Development, Recreation and Green Systems, Transportation and Infrastructure, Public Services and Implementation – plus three appendices titled Public Involvement Summary, Existing Conditions and Housing Market Analysis.

“The Chelsea Comprehensive Plan expresses the citizens’ vision of how they want their city to grow in the future, and provides a framework and a methodology for converting that vision into a sustainable reality,” the plan reads. “It is a long-term plan (typically covering five to 15 years) that may extend beyond the lifetime of those participating in drafting the plan.”

The comprehensive plan update is being funded through the Building Communities Program administered through the RPCGB, which provides federal funding for 80 percent of the project cost, while the city of Chelsea provides the local government match of 20 percent.

One piece of the plan is the Highway 280 Overlay District, adopted in February 2019 and designed to create a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing appearance along U.S. 280 from Dunnavant Valley Road to Shelby County 51, and along Old U.S. 280 from its intersection with U.S. 280 to Shelby County 51.

More information about the comprehensive plan and the overlay district can be found at Planchelsea.com.

“It is a living document,” Parsons said of the plan. “It’s meant to breathe and grow as the city grows.”

In other business, the planning commission:

  • Approved an AutoZone site plan and overlay district review, submitted by Yuri Hawley with Civil Engineering Services PC, with recommendations and notes as specified by the city engineer. The property is located on the western side of Taco Bell on U.S. 280 and contains 1.16 acres.
  • Discussed the results of a traffic study conducted near the Chelsea Acres subdivision off Liberty Road and whether improvements might need to be made to the road for safety reasons.
  • Discussed a planning and zoning rate review to ensure the fees the city charges are adequately covering meeting expenses.