Clanton accepts Master Plan for Exit 212

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Clanton City Council unanimously accepted the Interstate 65, Exit 212 Master Plan during a meeting on Aug. 10.

The plan outlines the best use for properties from County Road 43 to Jefferson State Community College.

“This is a growth pattern we have looked at to plan for the future,” Mayor Bobby Cook said. “If we are going to grow our city, we have to have a plan.”

A live streamed presentation had officially unveiled the plan in July.

“A year and a half ago, we, the Industrial Development Authority and the City of Clanton, contracted with Chambliss King Architects,” Whitney Barlow, executive director of the IDA, said.

The contract was for the architects to develop a plan for the best uses for property near the proposed Alabama Farm Center. It also includes an outline of where the Alabama Farm Center will be.

“In Alabama … property tax is not where you are going to make your money,” Barlow said. “We are a sales tax driven community, and that’s just what we are. The Farm Center is beneficial to us in that regards.”

She described the Master Plan as a “pretty impressive plan” for Clanton and Chilton County’s Exit 212 corridor.

One goal of the plan was to create more sales tax revenue from those attending events at the Farm Center. This would be accomplished with the proposed 173,000 square feet of retail space in the plan.

The plan also includes areas for at least three major residential areas and recreational opportunities, including ball fields and a community equestrian area.

Community input was a part of developing the plan.

Barlow said elements proposed in the plan could definitely be developed in other areas of the city.

“It could be on 205, it could be on 208 what the point of the master plan was to show how we could develop out (the corridor) to have a sustainable look,” Barlow said.

The fact that the plan can be changed at a later date was stressed before the Council voted on acceptance.

In presentations of the plan, Barlow had said it is a 20-year plan.

Acceptance of the plan was presented to the Chilton County Commission on Aug. 11.

Fully implementing the plan will require land acquisition, rezoning and a “covenant set of commercial guidelines” for commercial property in the area, Barlow said.

The original presentation of the Master Plan can be viewed from a link on the Chilton Chamber of Commerce website or on YouTube.

Also during the meeting, the Clanton Council:

  • Heard concerns from members of the West End community about gunshots, bullet holes in cars and litter. Clanton Police Chief Keith Maddox said increased patrols in the area and community help have led to some arrests related to gunshots. Increased patrol had led to a decrease in incidents last month. Councilman Awlahjaday Agee asked the community to continue to assist law enforcement whenever possible.
  • Approved paying the bill for garbage hauling.
  • Declared a piece of property surplus. The strip of land is between the former Mayor Billy Joe Driver’s house and the railroad. The property will be sold to Kim Driver Hayes, who has said she will continue the upkeep of the property.
  • Approved a promotion for a police officer.
  • Hired employees for the recreation department.
  • Received an update that cleaning of the downtown sidewalks had begun, and city workers had begun addressing grass issues previously discussed.
  • Heard an explanation of retirement benefits for Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees. Councilman Jeff Price explained that the Council had the opportunity to put all employees on Tier 1 that would allow employees to retire sooner with better benefits than the Tier 2 option that can currently be offered. Tier 1 benefits are seen as a way to recruit and retain employees.