City of Fairhope Holds Visual Preference Survey Process to Gather Feedback for Future Development

FAIRHOPE, AL— The city of Fairhope could soon be getting an improved look, and they need the input of their residents.

Visual Preference Survey Workshops:

Public Session #1
Thursday, November 8th
City of Fairhope City Council Chamber
5:30 - 6:45PM

Public Session #2 
Friday, November 9th
City of Fairhope City Council Chamber
12:00 - 1:15PM

With contributions from the Baldwin County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) in the form of a Smart Growth Grant from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the city will bring in a consultant to lead a Visual Preference Survey (VPS). It will include two workshops open to the public and an online survey.

The VPS technique is designed to show pictures of different development concepts like mixed use, street design, landscaping, and more. This technique relies on community and stakeholder collaboration to drive the results of the survey.

The City of Fairhope is the fastest growing city in the state of Alabama, at a 27% growth rate. "The biggest concern of our constituents when I took office was our unprecedented growth,” said Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson. "The city of Fairhope is the fastest growing city in the State of Alabama and while we cannot prevent growth, we can certainly manage it with proper planning. This Visual Preference Survey process is a vital step to ensuring that the regulations we update are aligned with not only best practices in planning, but also the vision of our citizens. The timing could not be better as we lead into a new Comprehensive Land Use planning process funded by Restore funds.”

Images used during the survey in these workshops may be local images or outside sourced images to illustrate specific conditions. Alternatives and various options for future development will be generated from these examples.

City Council President Jack Burrell said "The North Greeno Road corridor is the gateway to our City and it is imperative that we strike the right balance between development and aesthetics. We must be cognitive of the rights of property owners while maintaining a visually appealing entrance to Fairhope. We also want to ensure that we are limiting congestion and providing the safest driving and pedestrian environments that we can.”

This project is focused on educating decision makers, stakeholders, and the public about Smart Growth principles using examples and images. It is an important exercise for the intended purpose, but also because Fairhope will be embarking in a comprehensive land use planning process within the next 18 months funded by Restore Act funding from the BP oil spill settlement. The VPS will help prepare stakeholders for the extensive processes that will be part of the comprehensive land use plan.

One specific part of this survey will address Highway 98, also known as Greeno Road. There are several properties that are zoned residential, and the city is looking to add consistency to the development of Greeno Road as well as keeping the uses of these properties consistent with each other.

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