31 - ALABASTER FORWARD

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31 - ALABASTER FORWARD
Alabaster Forward
City of Alabaster
Comprehensive Plan Update
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Comprehensive Plan Update
Appendix A | Existing Conditions
February 2016
Alabaster Forward:
Appendix A Existing Conditions
“We are Alabaster, Shelby County’s premier community
for families and businesses, striving for an even higher
quality of life and a bright future.”
This project was supported by funding from the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham
(RPCGB) and the Birmingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Building Communities
Program.The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the
Birmingham MPO or the RPCGB. For more information on this program, please visit http://www.rpcgb.
org or call (205) 251-8139.
This plan was prepared as a cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT),
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Alabama Department
of Transportation (ALDOT), MPO and RPCGB as a requirement of Title 23 USC 134 and subsequent
modification under Public Law 109-59 (SAFETEA-LU) August 2005. The contents of the plan do not
necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the USDOT.
The contents of the Comprehensive Plan are designed to serve as a guide in the
public and private development of land and as such are not binding upon the City
of Alabaster when making specific land use decisions and public investments.
Contents
Introduction to the City of Alabaster..................................................... 1
1. Introduction...............................................................................................................................2
2. Planning Authority and Participants in Local Planning ............................................................2
3. General City Government Background.....................................................................................4
4. Accomplishments Since the 2005 Comprehensive Plan...........................................................7
5. History of Alabaster.................................................................................................................10
Community Profile.............................................................................. 13
1. Demographic Summary...........................................................................................................14
2. Land Use and Development Trends........................................................................................20
3. Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources................................................................................33
4. Mobility....................................................................................................................................39
5. Utilities and Infrastructure......................................................................................................48
6. Community Facilities and Services..........................................................................................55
7. Image and Identity...................................................................................................................59
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
3
List of Figures
Figure 1-1: Study Area Map........................................................................... 3
Figure 2-1: Population Change, 1990-2014................................................ 14
Figure 2-2: Population Change, 2000-2014................................................ 15
Figure 2-3: Population Projections, 2000-2040.......................................... 15
Figure 2-4: Age Distribution, 1990-2014..................................................... 16
Figure 2-5: Household by Household Income, 2014................................... 17
Figure 2-6: Household by Disposable Income, 2014.................................. 18
Figure 2-7: Commute Shed Map showing the Place of Work for Alabaster
Residents...................................................................................................... 19
Figure 2-8: Existing Land Use Map.............................................................. 21
Figure 2-9: Existing Zoning Map.................................................................. 25
Figure 2-10: Prime Farmland Map............................................................... 28
Figure 2-11: Character Area Map................................................................ 30
Figure 2-12: Siluria Mill................................................................................ 31
Figure 2-13: Medical Mile............................................................................ 32
Figure 2-14: Hydrology Map........................................................................ 34
Figure 2-15: Slopes Map.............................................................................. 35
Figure 2-16: Functional Classification Map................................................. 41
Figure 2-17: Railroads and At-Grade Railroad Crossings............................. 43
Figure 2-18: Roadway Segments under Study............................................ 45
Figure 2-19: Water Infrastructure Map (2004)........................................... 49
Figure 2-20: Sewer Infrastructure Map....................................................... 50
Figure 2-21: Broadband Coverage Map...................................................... 53
Figure 2-22: Parks and Open Space Map.................................................... 58
All figures, tables, and images are produced by RPCGB, unless specifically noted.
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
List of Tables
Table 2-1: 2000 to 2014 Population Change............................................... 14
Table 2-2: Comparative Racial Composition (2010).................................... 16
Table 2-3: Existing Land Use (2015)............................................................. 23
Table 2-4: Existing Zoning by District (2014)............................................... 23
Table 2-5: General Characteristics of Zoning Districts ................................ 24
Table 2-6: Prime Farm Land in Alabaster..................................................... 27
Table 2-7: Endangered and Threatened Species in Shelby County............ 37
Table 2-8: Roadway Level of Service............................................................ 46
Table 2-9: SR 119 Roadway Segment Level of Service................................ 47
Table 2-10: Percent of Alabaster Population with Broadband Internet
Access........................................................................................................... 52
Table 2-11: Wireless Broadband Provider Speeds...................................... 54
Table 2-12: School Enrollment for the 2014-2015 School Year.................. 55
Table 2-13: Police Department Sworn Personnel (2015) ........................... 55
Table 2-14: Police Department Equipment (2015)..................................... 56
Table 2-15: Fire Department Personnel (2015)........................................... 56
Table 2-16: Fire Department Equipment (2015)......................................... 56
Table 2-17: Alabaster Recreational Facilities............................................... 57
All figures, tables, and images are produced by RPCGB, unless specifically noted.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
CHAPTER 1
Introduction
to the City of
Alabaster
1
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
1. Introduction
1.1. Introduction to the City of Alabaster
The City of Alabaster Comprehensive Plan, which has been branded as Alabaster Forward, is the cooperative
effort between the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPCGB) and the City of Alabaster,
the Irondale Commercial Development Authority and the Greater Irondale Chamber of Commerce. The
purpose of this plan is to ensure that City of Alabaster can be prepared for future growth and change from
2015 through 2040. A Comprehensive Plan is used as a guide to decision-making about the natural and
built environment. The plan is used as a guide to making decisions regarding land use, development, growth
management and capital improvements. More information on the purpose of a Comprehensive Plan can be
found in the next section.
The purpose of this Existing Conditions report is to document, or take a “snap shot” of the existing conditions
and trends within the City of Alabaster. The information in this document will allow the City of Alabaster to
better understand its residential and non-residential development pattern, thus enabling the City to plan for
the delivery of services and infrastructure to accommodate future residential and economic growth.
1.2. Regional Context
The City of Alabaster is located around the intersection of U.S. 31 and State Route (SR) 119 in northwestern
Shelby County, approximately 15 miles south of Downtown Birmingham. Shelby County is home to many
of the suburban bedroom communities of metropolitan Birmingham, and in 2014 was the fourth fastest
growing county in the State of Alabama. Neighboring county jurisdictions include St. Clair, Talladega, Coosa,
Chilton, Bibb, and Jefferson Counties. Alabaster is the largest Shelby County municipality by population, and
the fourth largest city in the Birmingham Metropolitan Area. The four neighboring municipal jurisdictions
include Calera to the southeast, Helena to the northwest, Pelham to the northeast and Montevallo to the
south.
1.3. Historical Development Patterns
Economic Patterns
Manufacturing and mining represented the main areas of industry in the region until the 1970s. Prior to
1927, the Buck Creek Cotton Mill was the major employer in Alabaster. In 1927, the Alabaster Lime Plant
opened. Alabaster would remain a small mining and manufacturing hamlet until the 1970s. As the City’s
population began to grow, more commercial development began to occur within the municipality. Two of the
more visible examples of commercial growth include the Propst Promenade shopping center off Interstate 65
(I-65) at U.S. 31 and Whitestone Center off SR 119.
Residential Patterns
The Siluria Mill area, adjacent to the new City Hall and Senior Center, is a historic neighborhood which
formerly housed mill workers and has some of the oldest homes in the area. However, many of these homes
are in need of investment and major renovation. The Siluria Mill area sits on a traditional grid pattern street
layout.
Alabaster’s residential population has flourished since 1960. The suburban city saw a particular boom in
residents during the 1970s and 1980s with the opening of new manufacturing jobs and the move of more
workers to the area. The densest concentration of residential land use is located north and south of County
Road 44 (1st Avenue), along County Road (CR) 95 and between Buck Creek and CR 264, where most of
the first subdivisions were built in Alabaster. Since 2005, the five residential subdivisions of Silver Creek,
Meadow Farm, Maple Ridge, Sterling Park and Cross Creek, have been constructed. These subdivisions
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
Figure 1-1: Study Area Map
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
3
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
offer residents convenient access to the University of Montevallo, shopping, medical facilities, and major
transportation arteries.
Commercial Patterns
The commercial land use patterns in Alabaster are found along the major arterial highways and are located
at prominent intersections, which is typical of most suburban communities in the United States. The heaviest
concentration of commercial land use is located along the length of U.S. 31 from the northern city limits
to I-65. Historically, the stretch of U.S. 31 between 2nd Street and SR 119 served as the Main Street and
commercial heart of what is known as Downtown Alabaster.
East of I-65, along the southern stretch of U.S. 31 in the Saginaw community, commercial land use is
intermittently mixed with a variety of different land uses and is less concentrated. Additional commercial land
uses have already begun to extend down SR 119, from U.S. 31 to the southern city limits near Montevallo,
and is transforming the character of the old mill village and the rural landscape south of CR 26 (Fulton
Springs Road).
2. Planning Authority and Participants in Local Planning
2.1. Purpose Of A Comprehensive Plan
A Comprehensive Plan is used as a guide to decision-making about the natural and built environment.
The plan is used in guiding decisions regarding land use, development, growth management and capital
improvements. It provides a framework for guiding public and private decisions that will affect new
development as well as reinvestment in existing neighborhoods and business areas. A Comprehensive Plan
is based on the residents’ vision of how they want their city to grow in the future— it is a long-term vision
(typically covering 15 to 25 years) that may extend beyond the lifetime of those participating in drafting the
plan. It is composed of a combination of maps, development policies and design guidelines.
2.2. Planning Authority In Alabama
The Code of Alabama, 1975, Section 11-52- 2 authorizes and empowers municipalities to “plan”. This
enabling legislation defines the system in which planning is performed by a local government. The
local planning system for any city in Alabama consists of three main entities: the City Council, Planning
Commission (or Board) and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. These bodies play unique parts in the
establishment and administration of policies and regulations intended to maintain a positive quality of life for
all citizens in the face of growth and change within the community.
The City Council, the elected legislative body of a municipality, is the major decision-making group within
the planning system. The Council is responsible for the use of public revenues to provide and expand local
services and facilities (roads, water, sewer, parks, meeting facilities, etc.), a pivotal element in the growth of
any community. By establishing a “plan” and a “local planning system”, a city creates a framework in which all
decisions are based on community policy and goals for the city’s future, including the ways in which private
property is developed.
As provided by State Code, zoning and land subdivision regulations are the two major areas a city may
regulate to ensure positive growth. The Planning and Zoning Board creates and adopts the zoning and
subdivision regulations, which are then adopted as law by the Council. In administering zoning regulations,
all bodies of the local planning system may play a part. The Planning and Zoning Board interacts with the
citizen/developer, the Planning and Zoning Board hears zoning requests and submits recommendations to
the City Council, which makes the final decision. In this process, a decision or order from a City official may
be appealed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
The Zoning Board of Adjustment is intended to ensure that the interpretation and enforcement of zoning
regulations does not unfairly affect the use of property. In contrast to the way zoning includes all these
groups, land subdivision regulations are controlled exclusively by the Planning and Zoning Board. In order
that the local planning system works efficiently and follows the “vision” of the community, it is important that
all of the players be familiar with the policies of the Comprehensive Plan; that land regulations support these
policies; and that interpretation and enforcement of regulations are in concert with the overall intent of the
Comprehensive Plan.
2.3. Relationship Of The Comprehensive Plan To The Zoning Ordinance
The Comprehensive Plan guides land use decisions and becomes the foundation of zoning and subdivision
choices that are made by the Planning and Zoning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Alabaster’s
first Zoning Ordinance was adopted and approved by the City Council on June 16, 1998. The Zoning
Ordinance is part of the City’s Code and regulates the type, scale and intensity of development that may
occur in the specific zoning districts. To fully understand how a parcel of land can be used, one needs to
know how the land is planned in the Comprehensive Plan, and then determine how the land is zoned.
The Comprehensive Plan should not be confused with zoning (see Table 1.1). Zoning is a legal mechanism
enacted by the whereby land is classified according to specified uses, whereas the Comprehensive Plan is a
guide for future growth and development. Zoning is the tool utilized by the City to influence and direct the
development of the community to reflect the direction and desired form specified by the Comprehensive
Plan. The City’s Zoning Ordinance is one tool used to implement the vision, goals, policies and actions of
the Comprehensive Plan. Although they should not be confused with each other, the official Zoning Map
and the Comprehensive Plan are tied together as zoning regulations should be adopted in accordance with
the Comprehensive Plan. While the Comprehensive Plan itself does not change the Zoning Ordinance or
zoning of any property, some of the Plan recommendations will be implemented through text and map
amendments. Just as changing the Comprehensive Plan for a parcel of land requires a Comprehensive Plan
amendment, changing the zoning for that parcel requires a rezoning application.
Table 1.1: Comprehensive Plan vs. Zoning Ordinance
Comprehensive Plan
Zoning Ordinance
Provides general policies, a guide.
Provides specific regulations, the law.
Describes what should happen in the long-term –
recommended land use for the next 20 years, not
necessarily the recommended use for today.
Describes what is and what is not allowed today, based
on existing conditions.
Includes recommendations that involve other agencies
and groups.
Deals only with development-related issues under
control.
Flexible to respond to changing conditions.
Predictable, fairly rigid, requires formal amendment to
change.
General Land Use Categories (e.g., residential,
commercial)
Zoning Districts (e.g., R1 Residential, C-1 Business Zone)
General Land Use Locations
Parcel specific zoning designations
Base document, declaration of goals
Implementation of goals/plans
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
3
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
3. General City Government Background
The City of Alabaster has over 50 dedicated employees focused on providing stellar service to the citizens,
businesses and visitors of Alabaster. The Mayor is responsible for all city employees and he oversees the
strategic direction of all departments. All department heads report to the Mayor. The City of Alabaster
departments and services includes: Building Safety, City Manager/City Clerk, Environmental Services, Fire
Department, Human Resources, Municipal Court. Parks and Recreation, Police Department, Public Works,
Revenue Department, Treasury/Finance Department, and the Library Department. Details of the services
provided by these city departments is included in Section 3 of this Chapter. A description of the duties and
roles of the City Council and City Manager/City Clerk is listed below.
3.1. City Council
A seven member Council governs the City of Alabaster. The Council is comprised of the Mayor and Council
members who have been elected to serve a one year term. The Mayor and Council members are the
leaders and policy makers in the community elected to represent various segments of the community and
to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to residents’ needs and requests. Duties of the Council
include establishing goals and policies, enacting legislation, adopting the City’s operating budget, and
appropriating the funds necessary to provide service to the City’s residents, businesses, and visitors.
Alabaster City Council meetings are held every second or fourth Monday of each month at 7PM. City Council
meetings take place at City Hall located at 1953 Municipal Way. City Council meetings are open to the public
and adhere to the Alabama Open Meetings Act. In addition to regular city council meetings, city council
work sessions and committee meetings are held at various times throughout the month. Work sessions
are designed to allow the Council to talk on a more in depth level about issues. The Council takes no formal
actions at a work session.
The public is provided a 24 hour notice of any city council meeting via notifications posted at Alabaster City
Hall.
3.2. City Departments
Building Safety
The Department of Building Safety is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Codes
adopted by the City encompassing hazards that may be imposed on the built environment. The Department
oversees the building permit process for all construction, from new to renovations, within the jurisdiction
of the City of Alabaster; both residential and commercial. Within the Department, Planning and Zoning
coordinates all proposed projects for the City of Alabaster, both residential and commercial, prior to the
permitting phase.
Environmental Services
The Environmental Services Department is divided into two operational units, Environmental Collections and
the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Environmental Collections personnel performs cleaning of the main sewer
lines, and maintenance of pumps and pump stations, and taking video images of the main sewer which are
used to ensure proper installations of lines in new subdivisions as well as a video record of sewer laterals.
Fire Department
The Alabaster Fire and Rescue Department has three fire stations that are each staffed with a minimum of
4-personnel that are duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
Human Resources
The Human Resources Department handles all employment applications for the City of Alabaster
government.
Municipal Court
The Municipal Court handles traffic and non-traffic misdemeanor cases as well as parking tickets.
Parks and Recreation Department
The Alabaster Parks and Recreation Department provides and maintains a system of eight parks and one
trail for the residents of Alabaster, and provides nine organized sports programs (adult softball, baseball,
basketball, cheerleading, flag football, football, girls softball, soccer and Start Smart).
Police Department
The Alabaster Police Department operates out of this one central police station with approximately 84
people, 40 of whom are sworn police officers.
Public Works
The Public Works Department provides maintenance of city streets, signs, minor road repairs, street lights,
right of ways, drainage issues, emergency weather related issues, curb side pick-up of debris and contracted
household garbage and recycling service.
Revenue
The Department of Revenue administers issuance business licenses for those applying in Alabaster. The
department handles tax filings related to the city.
Treasury / Finance
The Treasury and Finance areas are responsible for the proper accounting and reporting of all revenues and
expenses.
Library Department
The Albert L. Scott library which is located at 100 9th Street NW. The Alabaster City Library was built in 1983,
and is administered under the Shelby County Library system. The Library Board supervises the library and is
appointed by the Alabaster City Council.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Introduction to the City of Alabaster
3.3. Established Boards and Commissions
The City of Alabaster’s Boards and commissions offer citizens an opportunity to participate in local
governmental affairs. Their activities help to shape or influence public policy in many areas. Although
many boards and commissions are advisory, their influence and value can be significant. They make
recommendations on a wide range of topics that come before the City Council. The following boards and
commissions have been established in Alabaster:
•
•
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The Alabaster City Schools Board of Education consists of a five member board dealing with issues
and decisions related to the six schools in the Alabaster School System.
The nine member Housing and Abatement Board is charged with dealing with housing demolition,
construction, and abatement issues.
•
Alabaster’s Industrial Development Board is a seven member board focused on the recruitment of
retail, light industrial, and heavy industrial businesses to the Alabaster Area.
•
The Planning and Zoning Commission consists of a nine member board dealing with requested
zoning and planning changes in Alabaster.
•
The City’s Water Board is unique in that it is independent of other City departments. The Board
consist of two active City Council members plus three other members appointed by the Alabaster
City council. The Board deals with all issues related to the City of Alabasters water supply.
•
The Alabaster Zoning Board of Adjustments is a six member board dealing with adjustments to
municipal zoning.
•
The City’s Commercial Development Authority aims to promote economic development in Alabaster
through various initiatives, economic incentives, and services.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
4. Accomplishments Since the 2005 Comprehensive
Plan
The past 30 years have seen five Comprehensive Plans prepared for the City of Alabaster. Alabaster went
through its first comprehensive planning process with the assistance of the Alabama Development Office in
1971. The second plan was prepared by the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) in 1978. The
City participated in two planning processes in the 1990s (1990 and 1995), again with the assistance of the
BRPC. The most recent Comprehensive Plan was last adopted on September 27, 2005. The following is a list
of major accomplishments within the city since the 2005 Comprehensive Plan.
Propst Promenade Shopping Center
Construction of the Propst Promenade Shopping
Center Phase I was completed in 2005. Phase
II was completed in 2007. The Center features
1,000,0000 square feet of shopping and
represents the largest commercial shopping
destination in Shelby County.
Propst Promenade Shopping Center (Source: Neal Wagner)
Shelby Baptist Medical Center Expansion
Shelby Baptist Medical Center is a 252-bed acute
care facility located on U.S. 31 with over 1,000
employees. The $92 million “South Tower”
expansion opened in 2009. The 167,712 square
foot expansion allowed the hospital to upgrade
all of its 50 semi-private rooms to 101 private
patient rooms. Of the newly renovated rooms,
16 were dedicated to the intensive care unit. The
expansion also included construction of a $15
million energy plant, a 370-space parking garage,
a new chapel and the procurement of additional
medical equipment.
Shelby Baptist Medical Center
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Introduction to the City of Alabaster
New City Hall
Completed in September 2013, the new Alabaster City Hall is approximately 20,000 square feet and is
located at 1953 Municipal Way, off 11th Avenue in Siluria Mill. Improvements and enhancements to 11th
Avenue were also made. The building facility houses several city departments including Building Services,
Engineering, Accounting, Revenue and Administration, and includes a courtroom and a second floor that
houses the Alabaster Board of Education offices. Prior to the new facility, the offices were spread out over
several buildings in different parts of the city, including the City Hall building that was located off of U.S. 31,
which now houses the Alabaster Police Department. The City Council and court had previously met in the
City Hall Annex building.
Alabaster Senior Activity Center
The 4,000 square foot Alabaster Senior Activity
Center was completed in 2010, and is adjacent
to the new City Hall in Siluria Mill. It is open
to residents age 55 and older, and the center
offers recreation and leisure programs, nutrition
programs, health and exercise programs,
outings and trips, expressive arts, speakers
and education, cards and games and volunteer
opportunities.
Alabaster Senior Center
Veterans Park
The new 90 acre Veterans Park off of SR 119
features a disc golf course, dog park, skate park,
a two mile walking and bike trail, two playground
areas, nine covered pavilions, a concession
stand, press box, five youth baseball/softball
fields and batting cages.
Veterans Park (Source: Neal Wagner)
Medical Mile Branding / Professional Medical Offices
The newly branded “Alabaster Main Street Medical Mile” is a 1.8 mile long corridor on U.S. 31 in the heart
of Alabaster. It is anchored by the Shelby Baptist Medical Center, and the Medical Mile contains at least 300
medical offices for physicians, clinics and medical providers, and at least 1,000 health care professionals.
The purpose behind Alabaster Main Street Medical Mile is to promote the convenient care located close to
home by providing an easy way for patients to find a local medical care provider. Every provider on the mile
is included in the directory at no charge to them. For more information visit https://mainstreetmedicalmile.
com.
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
Alabaster City Hall (Source: Neal Wagner)
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Introduction to the City of Alabaster
5. History of Alabaster
The word “Alabaster” means a white mineral, calcite, or gypsum, and Alabaster received its name from the
fact that it is situated on top of a large body of high calcium limestone. This large concentration of limestone
was one of the primary resources that helped Alabaster to grow into a city. According to historical records,
George L. Scott, Sr. opened the Alabaster Lime Plant in 1927.
Prior to 1927, the Buck Creek Cotton Mill was the major employer in Alabaster, and Thomas C. Thompson
operated the Buck Creek Cotton Mill as early as 1890. The mill was located in the community of Siluria. The
mill was later renamed Buck Creek Cotton Mills in 1911. Reports from that time stated the town had a “good
school, “a “good church” and the town was “in good shape,” “clean” and “healthful.” In 1921, the town
built a four-room high school. The school was named after Thomas Carlyle Thompson, therefore it was the
beginning Thompson High School.
Siluria flourished while the cotton mill was in good standing. On May 25, 1954, Siluria was incorporated
with a population of about 600 citizens. In 1959, a company from New York purchased the mill operating
facility, factory site and mill village property. The name changed to Siluria Mills, Inc. In 1965, the mill’s
name changed for the final time to Buck Creek Industries, Inc., and the mill village houses were sold to the
employees. The operating facility and the factory site were sold in 1968, and the mill closed its doors in May
1979.
As subsequent Post-World War II suburban growth began to occur in the area, a need for incorporation and
city services became apparent to its residents. In 1952, the first attempt to incorporate Alabaster failed,
but the petition was filed again in January 1953 and city government was officially established on February
23, 1953. The Honorable George L. Scott, Jr. was the first major elected and dominated the early politics in
Alabaster by serving for three consecutive terms. Since its birth in the early 1950’s, Alabaster has sprung to
life as a bustling suburb within the greater Birmingham area.
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Introduction to the City of Alabaster
Old Buck Creek Mill
Old Main Street
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
CHAPTER 2
Community Profile
13
Community Profile
1. Demographic Summary
1.1. Population Change and Projection
The City of Alabaster is approximately twenty-five square miles. With an estimated residential population
of 31,566 and 11,067 households in 2014, there are 1,263 persons per square mile (1.97 per acre). The
population in Alabaster has increased 39.6% since 2000, which is comparative to the Shelby County
population that has increased by 42.9%. Despite this growth, the effects of the recession are evident in
Alabaster. Between 2000 and 2010, Alabaster experienced an average annual population growth rate of
3.4%. Between 2010 and 2014 this rate decreased to 1.0%. This slowdown is largely attributable to the
lingering effects of the 2008 national economic recession and housing market crisis. The modest growth rate
is considered short-term and is not expected to indicate a reversal in the Alabaster housing market. It does,
however, provide an opportunity for the City to implement a long-term strategy for managed growth before
significant growth resumes. It is estimated that Alabaster’s population will continue to grow at a steady rate
and will reach 49,739 in 2040 (see Table 2-1).
Table 2-1: 2000 to 2014 Population Change
Alabaster
Shelby County
Alabama
2000 Population
22,619
143,293
4,447,100
2014 Population
31,566
204,723
4,885,854
% Population change 2000 to
2014
39.6%
42.9%
9.9%
Source: 2010 U.S. Census, 2014 American Community Survey
1.2. Age Distribution
The residential population of Alabaster is becoming slightly older. The median age has increased from 35.6
in 2010 to an estimated 36.2 in 2014. Like that of national trends, the senior age demographic is growing,
albeit at a slower rate. As the “baby boomer” population continues to advance in age, their share of the
population continues to increase in the City. Persons aged 60 years and older made up 9.9% of the total
population in 1990. By 2010 that percentage increased to 13.8%, and is estimated to make up 15.6% in 2014.
The percentage of residents aged 19 years or younger has decreased from 32.9% in 1990 to 30.6% by 2010,
Figure 2-1: Population Change, 1990-2014
14
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-2: Population Change, 2000-2014
Figure 2-3: Population Projections, 2000-2040
and it has remained relatively constant at an estimated 29.7% in 2014. Though the age group of 19 years and
younger has experienced a slight decrease in total percent share, the total number has increased from 4,841
in 1990 to an estimated 9,375 in 2014, a 94% increase. The working age population, residents between the
ages of 20 to 59 years, has also experienced a modest decrease in total percent share. The working age
population made up 57.3% of the population in 1990, dropping to 55.6% in 2010 and to 54.7% in 2014. The
total population of this age group, however, has increased from 8,439 in 1990 to an estimated 17,266 in
2014. The changing age characteristics within the City will translate to changing demands on city services
and added market demands for goods and services.
1.3. Racial Composition
The racial composition of Alabaster, according to the 2010 estimates, consisted of 79.4% of residents
reported as White, 13.5% Black or African American, and 7.1% making up the remaining racial categories
(see Table 2-2). Persons of Hispanic origin made up 9.0% of the population. When compared to the racial
composition of Shelby County, Alabaster had 2.9% more residents who reported as Black or African American
and 3.1% more residents who reported as being of Hispanic origin.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
15
Community Profile
Figure 2-4: Age Distribution, 1990-2014
Table 2-2: Comparative Racial Composition (2010)
Race
Alabaster
Shelby County
Alabaster as a % of
Shelby County
White
24,103
79.4%
161,943
83.0%
14.9%
Black or AfricanAmerican
4,105
13.5%
20,732
10.6%
19.8%
American Indian/
Alaskan Native
124
0.4%
553
0.3%
22.4%
Asian/ Pacific Islander
281
0.9%
3,800
1.9%
7.4%
Other
1,739
5.7%
8,057
4.2%
21.6%
Hispanic Origin*
2,723
9.0%
11,567
5.9%
23.5%
Total Population
30,352
100.0%
195,085
100.0%
15.6%
*Defined as an ethnicity, not a racial category
Source: 2010 U.S. Census
1.4. Household Size and Income
Alabaster is a city with a 43.9% of households that have children. Alabasters’ average household size in 2014
was 2.83, compared to the Shelby County average household size of 2.60 and state average of 2.47.
Median household income in the City of Alabaster has increased from $39,740 in 1990 to an estimated
$71,905 in 2014, an 81% increase. While general income trends have shown increases over time, the City
of Alabaster has enjoyed a higher rate of increase than that within the State of Alabama and Shelby County.
Since 2010 Alabaster residents have experienced a median household income increase of 6.8% while that of
Shelby County has increased by 3.4% and the State of Alabama has essentially remained unchanged. This
increase is due in part to comparably higher wage jobs, higher rates of economic mobility/ opportunity, and
low unemployment.
16
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-5: Household by Household Income, 2014
According to 2014 estimates, 12% of all Alabaster households earn under $25,000 per year and 31% of all
households earn less than $50,000 per year. The 2014 estimated average income of households in Alabaster
is $82,652 while the average income for Shelby County is $91,555. It is additionally estimated that nearly 9%
of all households are below poverty (earning less than $19,790 in 2014 for a 3-person household) and 12% of
households receive cash public assistance or food stamps/SNAP benefits. Poverty has an opposing effect on
the economic vitality of a community. Individuals living in poverty are often at risk of adverse consequences
such as poor health and criminal activity which result in reduced labor market participation. Poverty impacts
the development of skills, abilities, knowledge and habits that are necessary for active participation in the
workforce. Human capital is a fundamental component of economic growth and poverty can work against
the development of economic growth by stifling the ability to contribute to the economy.
Disposable income, also called surplus income, is the amount of household funds available for spending
and saving after paying taxes. The amount of disposable income is an important indicator for the economic
health of an area, and it is used to gauge the investment viability of business activity. The amount of income
remaining for discretionary spending does not include expenditures on housing, transportation, food,
child care, etc., therefore the amount of truly disposable income, whether it is used for household savings
or retail spending, is lower than may be indicated. The 2014 estimated average disposable income in the
City of Alabaster is $66,688. For comparison, Shelby County’s average disposable income is an estimated
$73,087 therefore the typical household in Alabaster possesses about 9% less disposable income than the
typical household in Shelby County as a whole. With an estimated 50% of disposable income being spent
on necessities such as housing, food and transportation, the remaining $33,344 represents the actual
discretionary income available to the average Alabaster household. Figure 2-5 represents about 40% of the
average household income in Alabaster.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
17
Community Profile
Figure 2-6: Household by Disposable Income, 2014
According to 2014 estimates of household disposable income, 6% of Alabaster households possess less
than $15,000 in disposable income, and 15% possess less than $25,000. However, nearly 60% of Alabaster
households have $50,000 or more in disposable income (see Figure 2-6). Of these households, the majority
are householders between the ages of 34 and 54 years. Conversely, young householders under 25 years and
senior householders 75 years and older possess the least amount of disposable income with 12% and 17%,
respectively, who retain less than $15,000 in disposable income.
1.5. Educational Attainment
Education and income are undeniably linked. Alabaster is competitive in terms of educational attainment.
20.9% of Alabaster adults over age 25 hold a high school diploma, which is higher compared to the 18.0% of
adults in Shelby County, but lower than the 25.7% of adults statewide. 24.6% of Alabaster adults over the
age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree, compared to 27.9% of adults in Shelby County, and 14.3% statewide.
Since 2000, educational attainment in Alabaster has remained mostly the same. Between 2000 and 2014, the
proportion of total population with only a high school degree or higher increased by 2.8 percentage points
and the proportion with a bachelor degree or higher decreased by 0.7 percentage points.
An educated and skilled workforce is an economic development asset. Alabaster enjoys a well-educated
and skilled workforce which increases the city’s competitive advantage when attracting new companies or
expanding local businesses.
1.6. Community Profile
Current commuting trends show that people are driving more places at longer distances. Average daily travel
times for workers living in the City of Alabaster were reported to average 30.4 minutes in 2013 with nearly
4,800 (32%) of employed residents commuting in excess of 40 minutes to work each day. By creating a better
balance between jobs and housing units, travel distances for Alabaster workers can be reduced while adding
additional residential appeal to the community.
Land use and development patterns have had impacts on Alabaster. With an estimated 23% of employed
residents of Alabaster working in Alabaster, 77% of Alabaster workers commute elsewhere to their jobs.
A commute shed analysis of Alabaster (as shown in Figure 2-7) shows that residents travel throughout
18
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-7: Commute Shed Map showing the Place of Work for Alabaster Residents
H
!
Concentrations of employment locations of
Alabaster residents
H
!
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!
Graysville
West Jefferson
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less
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!
Cardiff
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Center Point
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65
H
!
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!
Pleasant Grove
H
!
Fairfield
Midfield
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20
H
!
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North Johns
H
!
20
Birmingham
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Hueytown
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!
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§
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59
Trussville
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§
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Sylvan Springs
Argo
Tarrant
Maytown Mulga
H
!
Clay
Fultondale
JEFFERSON
H
!
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!
Gardendale
Brookside
more
Adamsville
Pinson
Homewood
§
¨
¦ Leeds
20
Irondale
H
!
Mountain Brook
§
¨
¦
Vestavia Hills
459
§
¨
¦
65
H
!
Lipscomb
Bessemer
H
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Hoover
Westover
H
!
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Indian Springs Village
§
¨
¦
459
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Pelham
H
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Chelsea
Helena
SHELBY
H
!
Alabaster
§
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¦
65
H
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H
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Montevallo
H
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Columbiana
Calera
Wilton
Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS
user community
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
19
Community Profile
the Birmingham metropolitan planning area to reach their jobs. Primary commuting destinations include
Birmingham (23%), Hoover (16%), Pelham (12%), and Homewood (6%). A more detailed analysis of the
workplace destinations of Alabaster commuters includes the Birmingham City Center and Southside areas
(UAB), the Riverchase Parkway, Bell South and Southgate Village areas of Hoover, and the Cahaba Valley
Business Park, Commerce Boulevard, and Oak Mountain Marketplace areas of Pelham.
A ratio of jobs to housing is commonly used to express the concept of jobs-housing balance. It represents a
measure between employment and housing. A balance of 1:1 is considered ideal, but such a balance can be
an unrealistic expectation for some suburban communities. Alabaster’s jobs-to-housing ratio is faring well
at 8:9 (10,500 jobs/ 11,748 units) and jobs-to-employed residents at 2:3 (10,500 jobs/ 16,067 employed
residents). Over time, the market is likely to correct this slight imbalance, though opportunities exist for the
City to actively recruit businesses that would bring more and higher wage jobs to Alabaster. Job growth and
growth in higher paying jobs in particular, will have a positive effect on the demand for housing in Alabaster.
2. Land Use and Development Trends
This section analyzes the current land uses, development patterns and zoning in Alabaster. Understanding
land use patterns in Alabaster helps the City identify areas for new and infill development. In addition to
identifying locations for various developments, land use patterns also help the City determine where to focus
future infrastructure and services.
2.1. Existing Land Use
There is a total of approximately 16,077 acres of land (25.1 square miles) within the current city limits of
Alabaster. Today, 70% of Alabaster’s total land area has been developed. Existing land use in Alabaster is
shown in Figure 2-8, and Table 2-3 details the breakdown of acreage by land use within the city limits. The
existing land use classifications are defined below.
Agriculture/Forestry
The agriculture / forestry land use classification is defined as land that is primarily used for forestry, farming,
low density residential, and other agriculturally related uses, including farm animals. Not many true
agricultural areas exist in Alabaster now due to suburbanization. Agricultural and forestry land use patterns
are primarily seen in the southern and eastern areas of Alabaster and serve as greenbelt buffers between
Calera and Montevallo.
Commercial
Alabaster’s existing commercial category has a variety of uses, development intensities, and characteristics.
Commercial land uses are areas of the community designed to provide jobs, services, and economic
vitality to the City. Establishments include retail sales and service, automobile sales or service, finance and
insurance, business, professional, scientific and technical services, food services, and personal services.
The heaviest concentration of commercial land use is associated with the Propst Promenade at I-65 and
U.S. 31. Historically, the stretch of U.S. 31 between 2nd Street and SR 119 served as the Main Street and
commercial heart of what is known as Downtown Alabaster. Commercial uses today extends along U.S. 31 to
the northern city limits. Commercial uses have also extended down SR 119 from U.S. 31 to the southern city
limits near Montevallo. The largest concentration of commercial land use on SR 119 is located in the vicinity
of Kent Dairy Road, at the White Stone Center, which is anchored by Publix Supermarket.
Industrial
The industrial land use classification is defined as manufacturing establishments such as plants, factories,
and mills that employ power driven machines, materials, handling equipment, and workers who create new
products by hand. The industrial land use pattern in Alabaster is located along the CSX railway, along I-65 and
20
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-8: Existing Land Use Map
"
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52
Alabaster City Limits
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Existing Land Use
Residential
Commercial
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
21
Community Profile
along U.S. 31 between 1st Avenue West and CR 66 (Industrial Road). The largest concentration of industrial
land in Alabaster is associated with Shelby West Corporate Park, which is a 400 acre commerce, industry and
technology park on I-65 at Exit 234, which is home to the Hibbett Sports distribution center.
Institutional
The institutional land use classification is includes uses used by public agencies of federal, state and local
government and those uses associated with community services, such as fire stations, schools, libraries,
community centers, hospitals, civic buildings, churches and cemeteries. The institutional land use pattern in
Alabaster is primarily located along U.S. 31 at the Shelby Baptist Medical Center, at the site of the new City
Hall and Senior Center in Siluria Mill, and along SR 119 between CR 264 (Thompson Road) and CR 12 (Butler
Road) at the Intermediate school, post office, churches, and cemeteries. The area off of CR 264 (Thompson
Road) and off of Kent Dairy Road, where Thompson High School and Thompson Middle School are located,
represents another concentration of institutional land uses.
Mining
The mining land use classification primary includes establishments that extract natural mineral solids, liquid
minerals, and gases. Mining includes quarrying, well operations, beneficiating, and other preparations
performed at the mine site, or as a part of the mining activity. Mining operations are very nominal to nonexistent within the actual corporate limits of Alabaster. The predominant mining operation in Alabaster is the
Cheney Lime and Cement Company, which is located along Old U.S. 31 and CR 26.
Recreational
The recreational land use classification is defined as establishments that operate facilities or provide
services for a variety of cultural, entertainment, and recreational functions such as ball fields, active and
passive parks, golf courses, wildlife management areas, and museums. The recreational land use pattern
in Alabaster is generally found adjacent to major highways and within large neighborhoods and floodplain
areas. The largest concentration of recreational land use within Alabaster is at Veterans Park, located on
SR 119, and along Buck Creek where Buck Creek Park and Buck Creek Trail are located. In addition to city
parks, recreational open space is often provided in large, master planned communities such as Lake Forest,
Weatherly, Grande View and Stage Coach Trace. Alabaster is also located between two very large recreational
areas: the Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area to the west and Oak Mountain State Park to the
northeast.
Residential
Residential areas have a variety of characteristics, densities and vary enough to recommend differing
residential development types. This land use is defined by single-family homes, multi-family dwellings,
manufactured homes, and housing for the elderly. Residential land use it the predominant land use in
Alabaster, and is found primarily west of I-65, U.S. 31, and SR 119. The densest concentration of residential
land use is located to the east and west of CR 95 (9th Street NW), to the east and west of CR 264 (Thompson
Road), between 4th Avenue and CR 44 (1st Avenue W.), and to the north and south of CR 12 (Butler Road),
and along CR 17, on the west side of Alabaster. These areas are where most of the first subdivisions occurred
in Alabaster.
The Simmsville area is located along CR 11 (Simmsville Road), between U.S. 31, the CSX railway and I-65, and
contains the largest concentration of haphazard residential land use patterns in Alabaster. East of I-65, the
largest area of residential land use is located south of CR 11 (Simmsville Road) in the Weatherly subdivision.
The five residential subdivisions of Silver Creek, Meadow Farm, Maple Ridge, Sterling Park and Cross Creek,
have been constructed since 2005.
22
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Undeveloped
The undeveloped land use classification is defined as land that has not been developed for a particular use
and includes woodlands not in any use and undeveloped portions of residential subdivisions, shopping
centers, and industrial parks. Large areas of undeveloped land still exist in Alabaster.
Utilities / Transportation
The utilities and transportation land use classification includes the main transportation, infrastructure, and
utilities of Alabaster. Utilities are elements such as sewer, water, gas, telecommunications, and electrical
infrastructure, and their associated easements. The transportation element includes all major road
classifications, pedestrian infrastructure, parking areas, street signs, and wayfinding components.
Table 2-3: Existing Land Use (2015)
Category
Percent
Acreage
Agriculture / Forestry
4%
573
Commercial
4%
600
Industrial
7%
1,059
Institutional
4%
598
Mining
2%
341
Recreational
3%
406
Residential
42%
6,069
Undeveloped
33%
4,701
Utilities / Transportation
Total:
11.05%
1,730
100%
16,077
2.2. Zoning
The current zoning in Alabaster is dominated by various residential categories, except for the Light Industrial
District (M-1), that lies along the interstate and railroad in the southeastern portion of the city. The largest
residential zoning district is the R-3 Single Family District, which requires a minimum lot area of 10,000
square feet, and covers approximately 3,970 acres of land. Existing zoning in Alabaster is shown on Figure
2-9. Table 2-4 details the breakdown of acreage by zoning district within the city limits.
The current zoning district classifications in Alabaster and their general characteristics are highlighted in
Table 2-5.
Table 2-4: Existing Zoning by District (2014)
Zoning Classification
Percent
Acreage
Agriculture District [A]
6%
932
Single Family Estate District [E]
7%
1,146
Single Family District [R-1]
1%
207
Single Family District [R-2]
5%
815
Single Family District [R-3]
25%
3,971
Residential Patio/Garden District [R-4]
5%
790
Two Family District [R-5]
0.07%
11
Multifamily District [R-6]
1%
193
Townhouse District [R-7]
1%
103
Manufactured and Mobile Home [R-8]
3%
552
Institution District [I]
5%
775
0.19%
30
Office District [B-1]
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
23
Community Profile
Zoning Classification
Neighborhood Business District [B-2]
Community Business District [B-3]
Percent
Acreage
0.31%
50
7%
1062
General Business District [B-4]
0.29%
47
Central Business District [B-5]
0.02%
3
Light Industrial District [M-1]
9%
1,514
Heavy Industrial District [M-2]
1%
103
Mobile Home Park and Subdivision District [MHD]
1%
92
Municipal Reserve [MR]
7%
1085
Planned Single Family Residential District [PRD-1]
7%
1,065
Planned Attached Residential District [PRD-2]
0.59%
95
Planned Neighborhood Commercial [PCD-1]
0.01%
2
Planned Commercial District (PCD-2)
0.03%
5
Planned Industrial District [PID]
0.46%
74
8%
1,355
100%
16,077
Land Not Zoned (i.e. transportation and utility easements)
TOTAL
Table 2-5: General Characteristics of Zoning Districts
Minimum Lot
Area/ Maximum
Density
Minimum
Lot Width
Maximum Building
Height
Minimum
Livable
Floor Area
Agriculture District [A]
3 acres
150 feet
35 feet
1,000 square
feet
Single Family Estate
Residential District [E]
1 acre
150 feet
35 feet
2,400
square feet
Single Family
District [R-1]
20,000
square feet
100 feet
35 feet
Single Family
District [R-2]
15,000
square feet
90 feet
35 feet
1,600
square feet
Single Family
District [R-3]
10,000 square feet
80 feet
35 feet
1,400
square feet
Residential
Patio/Garden District [R-4]
7,000 square feet
60 feet
35 feet
1,400
square feet
Two-Family District [R-5]
7,500 square feet
60 feet
35 feet
1,200
square feet
Multi-Family District [R-6]
4,000 square feet per
residence.
35 feet
35 feet
800 square
feet
per unit
Townhouse District [R-7]
8 dwellings
per gross acre
18 feet
35 feet
1,000 square
feet
per unit
Zoning Classification
24
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
2,000
square feet
Community Profile
Figure 2-9: Existing Zoning Map
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Overlay Zoning (2014) Zoning (2014)
52
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)
33
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PCD-1
PCD-2
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R-1
B-2
R-2
B-3
R-3
B-4
R-4
B-5
R-5
I
R-6
M-1
R-7
M-2
R-8
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22
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
25
Community Profile
Zoning Classification
Manufactured and
Mobile Home District [R-8]
Institution District [I]
Office District [B-1]
Neighborhood Business
District [B-2]
Community Business
District [B-3]
Minimum Lot
Area/ Maximum
Density
Minimum
Lot Width
Maximum Building
Height
Minimum
Livable
Floor Area
10,000 square feet
80 feet
35 feet
1,200 square
feet
40 feet
60 feet (30 feet when any
portion of the property
adjoins a single-family
or two-family residential
district)
None
None
40 feet
60 feet (30 feet when any
portion of the property
adjoins a single-family
or two-family residential
district)
None
None
2,500 square
feet per
establishment
60 feet (30 feet when any
portion of the property
adjoins a single-family
or two-family residential
district)
None
50 feet
60 feet (30 feet when any
portion of the property
adjoins a single-family
or two-family residential
district)
None
None
None
None
General Business District
[B-4]
None
None
60 feet (15 feet if adjoining
property is zoned B-4, M-1
or M-2, unzoned or right-ofway exceeds 40 feet)
Central Business District
[B-5]
None
None
30 feet
None
None
60 feet (30 feet when any
portion of the property
adjoins residential
district)
None
None
None
60 feet (30 feet when any
portion of the property
adjoins residential
district)
None
7,500 square feet
50 feet
20 feet
None
Light Industrial District
[M-1]
Heavy Industrial District
[M-2]
Mobile Home Park and
Subdivision District [MHD]
None
Approximately 8% of the city’s land is zoned as a Planned Development District (PDD). The PDD zoning
districts are scattered throughout the city, with larger PDDs located mostly in the fringe areas (usually
associated with large development projects) and smaller PDDs along major corridors. A PDD is a method
of development that permits more than one use to be developed on a tract of land, in accordance with an
approved master development plan. The intent of at PDD is to create community, permit flexibility, promote
efficient use of land, combine and coordinate uses, building forms and relationships, architectural styles
and circulation systems, and preserve and enhance significant natural features. PDDs are allocated to one or
more of the following:
26
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
•
•
•
•
•
•
Planned Single Family Residential District (PRD-1) - Detached single-family residential dwellings
Planned Attached Residential District (PRD-2) - Same permitted uses as in the R-5, R-6 and R-7
districts.
Planned Office and Institution District (POD) - Same permitted uses as in the Institution District and
the B-1 district.
Planned Neighborhood Commercial District (PCD-1) - Same permitted uses as in the B-2 district.
Planned Commercial District (PCD-2) - Same permitted uses as in the B-3 district.
Planned Industrial District (PID) - Permitted uses include: any use permitted in the B-4 Business
District; manufacturing, fabricating, processing, or assembling uses; utility uses; vehicle towing
services, with vehicle storage is screened from view from off the premises; veterinarian clinics and
animal boarding with outdoor kennels; similar light industrial uses.
Approximately 7% of the land in the city lies within the Municipal Reserve District (MR), which is intended
to serve as a holding district for property that has recently been annexed by the City of Alabaster. All uses in
existence at the time of annexation may lawfully continue until rezoned.
2.3. Prime Farmland
Prime farmland, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is land that has the best combination
of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and is
available for these uses. It could be cultivated land, pastureland, forestland, or other land, but it is not
urban land, developed land, or in water areas. Prime farmland has a dependable water supply, plenty of
moisture, favorable temperature and growing season, acceptable PH, and little rocks. Within the city limits
of Alabaster, approximately 11.2 percent of the land is considered prime farmland (see Table 2-6).
Table 2-6: Prime Farm Land in Alabaster
Category
Percent
Acreage
Prime Farmland
11.2%
1,800
Not Prime Farmland
88.8%
14,277
Total:
100%
16,077
2.4. Character Areas
Character area planning is rooted in the idea that cities are made up of unique places with distinct functions
and purpose, physical identities and social interests. Breaking a city into its component “Character Areas”
encourages a better understanding of what a city is and how its parts interrelate, helps to facilitate a more
manageable process to create a common vision for future growth, and helps organize strategies for capital
improvements, programs and policies that implement the vision.
The seven Character Areas described below and shown in Figure 2-11 for the City of Alabaster have been
based on three primary sets of factors: 1) areas of similar character, development time period, development
types, and/or unique traits; 2) geographic zones that represent aggregations of stakeholder issues; and 3)
areas that the community envisions developing in a coordinated fashion.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Community Profile
Figure 2-10: Prime Farmland Map
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Community Profile
Propst Promenade
One of the most identifiable shopping areas of Alabaster, the Propst Promenade is a lifestyle center that
provides modern outdoor shopping to citizens. It opened in 2005 and is located on U.S. 31 at I-65 (Exit 238
off of I-65). The 1,000,000 square foot shopping center is one of the largest in Alabaster, offering many
specialty stores, as well as a Walmart Super Center and Belks Department Store, and a variety of restaurants
and financial institutions. It provides diversity to the cities retail, and is a strong economic source for the city.
The Propst Promenade generates a large number of car trips since it is a destination for employment and
retail. The intensity of vehicular traffic creates the need for parking, and reduces the amount of potential
greenspace. However, the lifestyle center could benefit from a plan to improve pedestrian transportation and
connectivity – currently pedestrians must get in their car to cross the U.S. 31 intersection to reach additional
shopping in the North Promenade.
Historic Downtown
Historically, the stretch of U.S. 31 between 2nd Street and SR 119 served as the Main Street and commercial
heart of what is now known as Downtown Alabaster. Many of the original 1930 structures still exist, and
should be promoted, preserved and enhanced. Several factors are constraints for future development,
including the CSX railway, heavy traffic on U.S. 31 and a shortage of space.
Medical Mile
The Medical Mile corridor is approximately a 1.8 mile corridor along U.S. 31 between County Road 68 and
State Route 119 that connects residents and the surrounding community to hundreds of medical, office and
retail services. Currently, 20% of businesses and 73% of jobs in Alabaster are located along the Medical Mile.
The largest employers include Shelby Baptist Medical Center (1,100 employees), Shelby Ridge Rehabilitation
Center (200 employees), and Cardiovascular Associates PC (200 employees). The corridor has a significant
amount of vehicular traffic with little connectivity for pedestrians. As development continues to occur along
the U.S. 31 corridor, connectivity to both sides of the U.S. 31, as well as pedestrian walkways will be critical.
Finally, this character area is of particular importance as it is a “gateway” to Alabaster and because it runs
through the heart of the city.
State Route 119 Corridor
The largest concentration of commercial land use on SR 119 is located at the offset intersection of CR 26
(Fulton Springs Road), with the White Stone Center being one of the most notable commercial centers.
The White Stone Center has a total 70,440 square feet of retail and specialty shops, anchored by a Publix
grocery store. The commercial growth along this vital corridor will only continue to expand once roadway
improvements are complete.
Siluria Mill
Siluria Mill is home of the historic Buck Creek Cotton Mill between Buck Creek and a CSX rail spur. This area
was once the Town of Siluria. Until the time that the Mill shut down in the 1970’s, it was the major employer
in the area and the adjacent mill village housed many of the workers. Today, the old mill has been replaced
by a new Alabaster City Hall and Senior Center, as well as other municipal properties. The old mill village
still houses residents, but has been undergoing a steady transition into small, independent businesses and
offices. This transition is expected to continue with the widening of SR 119. As Siluria Mill continues to
develop, the historic mill and old jail should be preserved.
Saginaw Community
The Saginaw community is located in southeastern Alabaster, on the east side of I-65 at the intersection of SR
70 and U.S. 31. Saginaw is mostly made up of medium sized to large single family homes built from 1970 to
2000. Saginaw’s prominent industries include the Saginaw Pipe Company, Saginaw Recycling and the Dravo
Lime Company.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
29
Community Profile
Figure 2-11: Character Area Map
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Figure 2-12: Siluria Mill
10TH ST SW
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Project Boundary
Structures
Undeveloped land
Wetland
Parks + Greenspaces
Railroad
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Community Profile
Figure 2-13: Medical Mile
FOOD DEPOT
BIGLOTS
STAPLES
31
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Structures
HISTORIC
DOWNTOWN
Undeveloped land
Wetland
Parks + Greenspaces
Railroad
ALDI’S
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Suburban Development
The bulk of Alabaster is made up of single family detached houses, on half-acre lots. These neighborhoods
definitively define the character of the city, as the landscape has shifted from rural agricultural to suburban
residential. As of 2015, an estimated 25% of the land acreage in the city was residential in use. Overall, an
estimated 98% of all residential land use is used for single family homes (about 28% of this large lot homes),
just 3% is in multi-family use, and another 5% is used for mobile homes. The remaining 64% is occupied by
lower and medium density housing units.
3. Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources
3.1. Water Bodies, and Watersheds
Alabaster primarily lies within the Cahaba River-Buck Creek watershed, although southern and southeastern
portions of the City lie within the Little Cahaba River and Waxahatchee Creek watershed. The main creeks in
Alabaster are tributaries of the Cahaba River and include Buck Creek, Dry Creek, Peavine Creek and Johnson
Branch. Presently, no waterway segment in Alabaster is listed as “impaired” on the Alabama Department
of Environmental Management’s (ADEM) 303(d) list, a list that is considered a priority for water quality
improvement efforts. The City’s waterbodies consist of small residential lakes and ponds. Figure 2-14
depicts the existing hydrologic resources in Alabaster.
3.2. Floodplains
Approximately 927 acres within the City of Alabaster lie within the 100-year flood. These areas present
natural barriers to development. The most prominent area of flooding is associated with Buck Creek, but
others include Dry Creek and Peavine Creek. Buck Creek generally follows the CSX railway and is centrally
located in Alabaster. However, the flood prone areas indicated on Figure 2-14 are not static, and they
can expand as land uses change over time. New commercial and residential developments increase the
amount of impervious surfaces, which serve to increase the rate and velocity of surface water runoff into
the waterways of Alabaster. Figure 2-14 represents the flood prone areas as designated by the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
3.3. Wetlands
There are approximately 536 acres of wetlands present within Alabaster, all of which are vital to the overall
health of the City’s ecosystem. Wetlands have many important functions including providing habitat, filtering
and cleaning stormwater, collecting flood waters and providing areas for recreational opportunities. The
city hosts three types of wetlands: 402 acres of freshwater forested/shrub wetlands (swamps, saturated
seasonally), 99 acres of freshwater ponds (permeant/artificial saturation) and 35 acres of freshwater
emergent wetlands (marshes/ areas prone to extended periods of saturation). Wetlands can primary be seen
in central Alabaster, near Buck Creek Park, and along the peripheral edges of the city. The wetlands that are
present in Alabaster are shown in Figure 2-14.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
33
Community Profile
Figure 2-14: Hydrology Map
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Figure 2-15: Slopes Map
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
35
Community Profile
3.4. Slopes
There are areas of steep slopes—20% and greater—in various locations in the City, particularly just east of
CR 17 and in the CR 11 (Simmsville Road) area in the northeast portion of the city (See Figure 2-15). Areas
of steep slope pose constraints for land development. Development on steep slopes tends to be more
expensive than on flat land and can have unwanted impacts on stormwater drainage and exacerbate erosion.
Alabaster’s topographic features have had a direct influence on the community’s past development pattern
and will continue to be a factor in the City’s future growth. Although specific threshold criteria for steep
slopes vary depending upon the type of development activity, the general slope thresholds are used to
determine where slopes become a significant engineering and design constraint to development:
• 0-5% Well suited to large-scale shopping center development and small-scale individual
commercial structures, single and multi-family residences. Acceptable limit for construction of
roads and railroads.
• 5-10% Truck access becomes difficult and expensive when the slope exceeds 7%, and in areas of
slope over 8% road routing is virtually dictated by the terrain. Small-scale, individual, commercial
structures on slopes from 5 to 8% with virtually no parking demand or, if provided, with parking
garages.
• 10-15% Financially impractical for industrial, commercial and townhouse developments. Hillside
subdivision for single-family homes and apartment construction is often feasible, with special care
taken with design of access roads and parking areas.
• 15-20% Point at which engineering costs for most developments become significant and extensive
anchoring, soil stabilization, and stormwater management measures must be applied. Single-family
homes and apartment construction is possible only if special care is taken in the design of access
roads, parking areas, water supply, and sewage disposal. Any road design requires special care.
• 20-25% Financially impractical for all development activity. All urban areas which require the
construction of roads and the provision of utilities are both prohibitively expensive and extremely
damaging to the terrain.
3.5. Plant and Animal Habitats
The City of Alabaster is located in the Alabama Valley and Ridge physiographic region and has a diverse range
of plant and animal habitats. Vegetation is predominantly oak-pine forests characterized by willow, birch,
sycamore, oak, poplar, and hickory, maple and ash trees. Steeper slopes are dominated by pine trees. Listed
below are some of the more ecologically rich areas of Alabaster.
•
•
•
Limestone Park, located off U.S. 31, is recognized for its diverse wetlands, grasslands and Tupelo
Gum Swamps. It is designated as one of the stops on the Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail,
which runs from the Little River Canyon to Ebenezer Swamp in Montevallo. It is noted as of the
best birding sites in Alabama, with species such as the Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Bobolinks,
Anhinga, Dickeissels, and Grasshopper Sparrows have been sighted.
Buck Creek Trail and Greenway, located near Siluria Mill, houses a collection of southeastern plant
and animal communities. Native plant species include: oaks, American sycamores, maples, slash
pines, eastern red cedars, and vining species. While invasive species include kudzu, privet, and
bamboo, a collection of woodland critters have also be sighted such as raccoons, white tail deer,
and beavers.
Tributaries of the Cahaba River run through the city. The Cahaba and its tributaries are noted as one
of the only eight “hotspots of Biodiversity” out of 2,111 watersheds in the contiguous United States
by the Nature Conservancy. Moreover, 135 fish species, 35 snail species and 50 known mussel
varieties are known to occur within its boundary.
Table 2-7 lists the threatened and endangered species in Shelby County, whose habitats can be affected by
new development.
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Table 2-7: Endangered and Threatened Species in Shelby County
Species
Listed Species in Shelby County
Scientific Name
Federal Status
Birds
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Recovery
Orangenacre mucket
Epioblasma othcaloogensis
Threated
Southern acornshell
Epioblasma othcaloogensis
Endangered
Epioblasma metastriata
Endangered
Lampsilis altilis
Threated
Pleurobema perovatum
Endangered
Bald Eagle
Clams
Upland combshell
Finelined pocketbook
Ovate clubshell
Pleurobema decisum
Endangered
Triangular Kidneyshell
Ptychobranchus greenii
Endangered
Alabama moccasinshell
Medionidus acutissimus
Endangered
Southern pigtoe
Pleurobema georgianum
Endangered
Cahaba shiner
Notropis cahabae
Endangered
Goldline darter
Percina aurolineata
Threated
Georgia rockcress
Arabis georgiana
Threated
Mohr’s Barbara button
Marshallia mohrii)
Threated
Spigelia gentianoides
Endangered
Xyris tennesseensis
Endangered
Myotis sodalis
Endangered
Tulotoma snail
Tulotoma magnifica
Threated
Rough hornsnail
Pleurocera foremani
Endangered
Cylindrical lioplax
Lioplax cyclostomaformis
Endangered
Flat pebblesnail
Lepyrium showalteri
Endangered
Painted rocksnail
Leptoxis taeniata
Threated
Round rocksnail
Leptoxis ampla
Threated
Southern clubshell
Fish
Flowering Plants
Gentian pinkroot
Tennessee yellow-eyed grass
Mammals
Indiana bat
Snails
Source: http://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/reports/species-by-current-range-county?fips=01117
3.6. Cultural Programs
The City of Alabaster has a very active arts and culture scene. The Parks and Recreation Department provides
activities for people of all ages at a variety of locations and times during the year. The following is a list of
some of the programs provided:
Parks and Recreation Annual Events
• City FEST is held in June and is organized by the City of Alabaster, members of the Arts Council,
and volunteers. It is an all-day music festival that is open to the public, and draws 55,000- 75,000
visitors to Alabaster a year. In addition to music, the festival also features vendors of various arts,
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
37
Community Profile
•
•
•
•
foods, services, and a 5k run. 2015 marks the 11th year anniversary of this free event.
Movies in the Park is offered by the City of Alabaster and gives residents the chance to catch free
family-friendly flicks at Veterans Park throughout the summer, every Friday.
Bark in the Park is held annually in October at Veterans Park and is an all-day affair featuring
activities for pets and people including contest, music, a Mutt Strut and children’s activities. Bark in
the Park is free and benefits the Shelby County Humane Society. 2015 marks the 7th anniversary of
the event, with an annual 5,000 attendees each year.
Fall FEST is held annually at Buck Creek Park near the end of October and features arts and craft
vendors, live music, inflatables, trick-or-treat trail and hay rides.
Trash to Treasures Extravaganza is an annual event that brings together 50 vendors, the City of
Alabaster, and the surrounding community in an event that has been compared to a swap meet/
garage sale. Located at Buck Creek Park and Trial, in the spring, items both new and used are sold.
Parks and Recreation Athletics Services
• Adult Softball
• Baseball
• Basketball
• Cheerleading
• Flag Football
• Girls’ Softball
• Soccer
Senior Center Activities Offered
• Recreation and Leisure
• Nutrition Program
• Health and Exercise Programs
• Expressive Arts
• Cards and Games
• Volunteer Activities
• Speakers and Education
Alabaster Arts Council
The Alabaster Arts Council is a local nonprofit that provides a variety of services to the citizens of Alabaster,
including:
• Grants to local schools for art, music and drama programs
• Funds for art and music programs specifically for Seniors
• Funds for art and music programs for Alabaster’s EMPOWER Therapeutic Arts Program
• Funds and facilitation to art programs for at-risk youth
• Grants to local arts including the South City Theatre
• Funds and labor for CityFEST
Albert L. Scott Library
The Albert L. Scott Library provides supplementary educational opportunities for adults, seniors and children
in Alabaster. Some of the programs they provide include:
• Adult Book Club: a monthly book discussion group that meets the third Thursday of every month.
• Masterpiece Book Club: a daytime book club that focuses on the classics of literature, every 2nd
Friday of the month.
• Adult Computer Classes: held every Wednesday, and features software like the Microsoft Office
Suite.
• Job Search Workshops: workshops include instruction on resume writing, interview tips,
networking, social media, and finance. They are held periodically, for seniors 55+, and are
sponsored by Aging Workers are Reliable Employees (AWARE).
• Weekly Children’s Story Time + Book Club: a weekly book club open to children on Wednesday and
Friday.
• Special Guest Lectures
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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4. Mobility
4.1. Inventory of Facilities
Introduction
The City of Alabaster is conveniently connected to the greater Birmingham region. The city’s residents rely
primarily on private automobiles. Limited public transit opportunities are available to elderly citizens and
individuals with disabilities via ClasTran. Manufacturing and other industrial businesses utilize the existing
transportation infrastructure to move their goods. The city’s major transportation network includes two Class
I railroads (that run along three distinct corridors through the city), the I-65 interstate corridor, U.S. Highway
31, and several state routes and county roads. Alabaster also has one major off-road non-motorized travel
facility, the Buck Creek Trail, one on-road bicycle facility, and several pockets of sidewalks located in the
historic downtown area and within residential subdivisions. However, sidewalks are not universally located in
all residential communities.
Roadways and Roadway Functional Classification
Roadways vary not only in width, design, cross-section, and traffic volume, but also in their function. Roads
are classified by the federal government (U.S. Department of Transportation) and State Departments
of Transportation (DOTs) according to the transportation function they provide to the community. The
functional classification of a road describes the character of service the road is intended to provide. The
various road classifications primarily serve two competing functions: access to property and travel mobility
depending upon their purpose. The City of Alabaster has a total of approximately 197 miles of roadways
grouped into four distinct roadway classifications: local roadways, collector roads, minor arterials and major
arterials. These are shown in Figure 2-16.
Principal Arterials are major roadways primarily serving “through traffic,” conveying traffic to and from
expressways and freeways, and having minimum direct service to abutting land. In some cases, principal
arterial roadways provide direct access to adjacent properties. However, this can be problematic for traffic
movement. Principal arterial roadways serving the City of Alabaster, totaling approximately 11.2 miles,
include:
• U.S. 31
• SR 119
Minor Arterials provide for movement within larger subareas that are bound by principal arterials. A minor
arterial also may serve “through traffic,” but provides more direct access to abutting land uses than does
a principal arterial. Minor arterial roadways serving the City of Alabaster, totaling approximately 4.1 miles,
include:
• CR 17
• CR 26 (east of I-65)
Collectors are roadways that serve often definable neighborhoods, which may be bound by arterials with
higher classifications. As their name suggests, collector streets ideally “collect and distribute” local traffic,
providing a link between local neighborhood streets (i.e. non-arterials) and larger arterials. A Collector Street
may be a Major Collector or a Minor Collector. The City of Alabaster is served by approximately 20.05 miles
of collectors. Collectors serve very little “through traffic”. They do, however, serve a high proportion of local
traffic requiring direct access to abutting properties.
• Major Collectors are public roadways that accumulate traffic from local streets and Minor
Collectors for distribution to arterial (major or minor) roadways. A Major Collector may have
commercial, residential or have mixed uses abutting. Major collectors within the City of Alabaster
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Community Profile
include:
▫▫ CR 11 (Simmsville Road)
▫▫ CR 12 (Butler Road/Smokey Road)
▫▫ CR 26 (Fulton Springs Road)
▫▫ CR 44 (1st Avenue)
▫▫ CR 66 (Industrial Road)
•
▫▫
▫▫
▫▫
▫▫
▫▫
CR 68
CR 87
CR 95 (9th Street NW)
CR 264 (Thompson Road)
Kent Dairy Road
Minor Collectors are public roadways that accumulate traffic from local streets for distribution into
arterial (major or minor) or major collector roadways. A minor collector typically has residential
uses. However, it may also serve commercial or mixed uses. CR 80 (Mission Hills Road) within the
City of Alabaster is a minor collector.
Local Streets are intended to provide little to no through traffic. They provide access to individual singlefamily residential lots, entry and exit to the neighborhood, and connectivity to collectors and thoroughfares.
In short, all other roadways not previously listed are considered local streets. Eighty-two percent of all the
roads in Alabaster are local streets, totaling approximately 162 miles.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities
Bicycle Facilities. The City of Alabaster’s current leadership has expressed its commitment to improving
its bicycle facilities. City of Alabaster residents have consistently shown their interest in a well-developed
bicycle network, and have expressed their desire to incorporate bicycle travel as part of the City’s overall
transportation infrastructure, ensuring that cycling becomes a viable travel alternative. Despite this interest,
the City only has 1.5 miles (approximate) of total directional on-street bicycle facilities. This consists of a
marked bicycle lane (width: >4 feet) along Weatherly Club Drive between Glen Abbey Lane and Wembley
Way/Belvedere Place. Weatherly Club Drive is located just off of County Road 11 running along the eastern
boundary of the city beginning in the northeastern corner.
Pedestrian Facilities. Sidewalks provide a solid pedestrian foundation. There are some roadway segments
that have sidewalks on one or both sides of the roadway. However, the majority of the roadways within the
City of Alabaster have no sidewalks at all. The city policies prioritize the need for sidewalks and require that
new residential development include sidewalks as part of the overall infrastructure package.
In addition to sidewalks, the City of Alabaster also maintains approximately 1 mile of gravel trail along the
Buck Creek. Buck Creek Trail parallels the Buck Creek and SR 119 corridor as it passes through Siluria Mill.
The trail connects Buck Creek Park and Warrior Park, linking the City of Alabaster’s Thompson Elementary
and Intermediate schools, civic buildings (including the City of Alabaster Personnel Office, the Alabaster
Senior Center, and the Alabaster City Hall), and the Siluria Mill neighborhood along the way. The City has
plans to extend the Buck Creek Trail south approximately 2.5 miles to Veterans Park. The extended trail is
planned to follow an existing sewer easement.
Public Transportation
ClasTran is a regional transportation provider comprised of a consortium of county and local governments,
and human service agencies. ClasTran primarily provides para-transit services for elderly and qualified
disabled individuals who are participating in one of consortium member’s programs and for persons living
in three (Jefferson, Shelby and Walker) of the six counties that make up the Greater Birmingham region,
provided that these individuals live outside of the Birmingham Jefferson County’s fixed-route transit service
boundaries. They also provide public transportation services i.e. services that are open to anyone residing in
the rural areas of these three counties.
40
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-16: Functional Classification Map
Functional Classification
Interstate
Principal Arterial
Minor Arterial
Major Collector
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Community Profile
According to ClasTran records, the service provides an average of 25 trips/day to City of Alabaster residents.
Approximately 430 riders/day have either trip origins or destinations within the City of Alabaster. ClasTran
reports that City of Alabaster residents’ trip purposes include trips to medical services, shopping, social
services and other activities. Trips made by Alabaster residents are made within the City of Alabaster,
throughout Shelby County and across the Greater Birmingham region. ClasTran also provides access to the
Alabaster Senior Center, bringing Shelby County’s senior residents (age 60+) who are actively participating in
the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) Senior Services program. The fare for riders using ClasTran
is $4/one-way trip.
In addition to ClasTran, Chilton County Public Transportation also provides demand responsive bus transit
service to the Shelby Baptist Medical Center and the ancillary medical facilities and providers near the
hospital. According to Chilton County Public Transportation’s records, 22 total trips were made to Shelby
Baptist Medical Center in 2014. This equates to an average of 1.8 trips/month and an average of 2.4 riders
per trip. The round trip fare for riders from anyplace in Chilton County to Shelby Baptist Medical Center is
$20.
Railroads and Air Transportation
While personal automobiles are the most common form of transportation, rail and air travel remain critical to
the efficient movement of people and goods. More importantly, these facilities require specialized planning
and development to ensure efficient operation and not adversely impact surrounding land uses.
Railroads. Railroad service has declined in priority in the United States since the 1950‘s, but is still crucial
to several industries. Heavy rail is an integral part of modern industrial freight movement. Transportation
planning must address available rail options and conditions not only for the benefit of the rail system, but
also for points where rail service interacts (or intersects) other transportation systems.
Two (2) Class I rail facilities comprising three (3) active freight lines run in a north-south direction through
the City of Alabaster. CSX operates two (2) major rail lines through the City of Alabaster, connecting the City
of Mobile in South Alabama with the City of Chicago in the Great Lakes region. Norfolk Southern operates
a single line through the western area of the city. These rail lines connect with intermodal facilities in
Birmingham, and serve several of Alabaster’s and Shelby County’s quarries. While the City’s leaders and
residents recognize the utility of these facilities, they also are desirous of finding some way to mitigate the
impact of these rail lines on residential communities and local traffic. Both the CSX and Norfolk Southern
rail lines cross major roadways at grade. The two eastern most rail lines that run through the City are owned
by CSX, one of which mostly parallels U.S. 31. The rail line is so close to U.S. 31 that the signal timing at the
intersection of U.S. 31 and CR 11/SR 119 is coordinated with the rail crossing gate’s signals. The fast moving
trains present a problem for commuters during both the morning and afternoon peak travel hours in that
trains often run during these travel periods. Although they are moving at a reasonable speed, the typical
duration of a rail movement across the at-grade intersection is about 300 seconds (five minutes). This
exacerbates the already long traffic delays, causing vehicles queues to exceed the turn bay storage capacity
of the parallel roadway, and adding further to signal cycle failures. Figure 2-17 illustrates the CSX and
Norfolk Southern rail corridors as they run through the City of Alabaster, and highlights the at-grade railroad
crossings.
Airport. The City of Alabaster is served by the Shelby County General Aviation Airport. It is a public use
general aviation facility located to the south of Alabaster, in the neighboring City of Calera. A portion of the
airport’s runway is located within the City of Alabaster’s municipal boundaries. The Shelby County Airport
is near the Shelby West Industrial Park and adjacent to I-65. The airport’s single runway parallels I-65 as
well. It is accessible from the interstate at Exit 234 and CR 87. It also is accessible from CR 12. The airport is
owned and managed by the Shelby County Commission.
42
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-17: Railroads and At-Grade Railroad Crossings
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The Shelby County airport provides private general aviation air service including fuel sales and aircraft
storage, and also harbors a local flight school. The airport features a single, asphalt paved runway at 5,000 x
75 feet. The runway is weight limited at 16,000 pounds. For the reporting period ending January 22, 2015,
the Shelby County Commission indicated that there were1:
• 79 - Total airplanes based on the field
▫▫ 72 – Single engine airplane
▫▫ 6 – Multi-engine airplanes
▫▫ 1 – Jet airplane
• 57 – Daily aircraft operations (average), of which:
▫▫ 70% (39.9) – Classified as transient general aviation
▫▫ 29% (16.5) – Classified as local general aviation
1% (0.57) – Classified as military
4.2. Study Segments, Methodology and Performance Standards
Study Segments
Traffic congestion and roadway safety are key concerns for the City of Alabaster. To address these concerns,
metrics that accurately quantify the issues are required. Typically, traffic studies use an automobile Level of
Service (LOS) methodology to describe traffic conditions and assess impacts. But this approach tells only part
of the story. To present a balanced view of current traffic conditions for all roadway users in Alabaster, this
report uses a range of metrics to document existing conditions, including intersection LOS, roadway segment
volumes and roadway segment volume-to-capacity (V/C) ratio.
The roadway segments included in this study for further are identified below, and are highlighted in Figure
2-18. Traffic counts on the roadway segments were assembled from the Alabama Department of Transportation traffic count website and the RPCGB traffic count database. Data assembled from these sources used
the latest year available. A number of facilities were also counted using automatic traffic recorders (i.e. tube
counts). These were collected over a 48-hour period on a typical weekday.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
CR 11 (Simmsville Road)
CR 12 (Butler Road/Smokey Road)
CR 17 (North of CR 44/1st Avenue West)
CR 26 (Fulton Springs Road)
CR 44 (1st Avenue)
CR 66 (Industrial Road)
CR 68
CR 87
CR 95 (9th Street NW)
CR 264 (Thompson Road)
Kent Dairy Road
Generalized Level of Service Analysis
The City of Alabaster’s existing transportation conditions were evaluated considering both roadway users’
quality/level of service (Q/LOS) and generalized roadway capacity. Quality of service is a traveler-based
perception of how well a transportation service or facility operates.2 In traffic analysis, delay is a measure of
quality of service to the road user. This quality of service is usually expressed as level of service (LOS). LOS
is a quantitative stratification of quality of service into six letter grades, “A” to “F”, with “A” representing the
best conditions and “F” representing the worst conditions. LOS provides a generalized planning measure
1. www.airnav.com
2. Quality/Level of Service Handbook. Systems Planning Office. Florida Department of Transportation. 2013
44
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-18: Roadway Segments under Study
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Community Profile
of operating conditions that is experienced by motorists as they travel inside the roadway environment
(essentially inside the right-of-way). In short, LOS is simply a quantitative breakdown of transportation quality
of service (satisfaction) as measured by the transportation users’ perspectives.
It should be noted that the capacity analysis conducted for the City of Alabaster is specific to interrupted flow
facilities. That is, travel facilities that have fixed causes of periodic delay or interruption to the traffic stream.
This includes traffic control devices such as stop signs and traffic signals, as well as frequent access points
such as driveways. Therefore, capacity on interrupted flow facilities can be defined in terms of persons per
hour, passenger cars per hour, or vehicles per hour depending on the type of analysis or system element.
The levels of service for the study roadways are presented in Table 2-8. They are provided for contextual
purposes. Note: Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) volumes were not available for CR 26 (Fulton Springs
Road). As such, no LOS assessment was conducted along this road segment. Also note that the adjusted
AADT was utilized in this analysis for data collected specifically for this project. These adjusted AADT were
derived using ALDOT’s adjustment factors and applied to the ATR collected data.
Table 2-8: Roadway Level of Service
AADT
Volume
LOS
CR 11 (Simmsville Road)
6,948 a
D
Road Name
County Road 12 (Butler Road / Smokey Road)
4,258
a
C
County Road 17
8,547 a
D
County Road 44 (1st Avenue W)
7,266 a
D
County Road 66 (Industrial Road)
15,040
F
County Road 68
a
5,211
b
C
County Road 87
4,998
c
C
County Road 95 (9th Street NW)
8,643
c
D
County Road 264 (Thompson Road)
8,016
b
D
Kent Dairy Road
10,004
a – RPCGB 2010 Traffic Counts; b – RPCGB 2013 Traffic Counts; c – 2014 Adjusted Average ATR collected data
a
D
In addition to the previously listed facilities, a generalized assessment of State Route 119 was conducted
using the same methodology described above. State Route 119 was identified by elected officials and
residents alike as being problematic in that there is a perception of congested conditions, specifically
between County Road 26 and County Road 80. The City of Alabaster has secured $10 million in funding
through the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and
Improvement Program (ATRIP), and has plans to widen the current two-lane section to five-lanes (four
travel lanes plus a two-left turn lane). A more detailed description of this project is provided later in this
section. It should be noted that traffic signals were added in 2014 at the intersection of State Route 119 and
County Road 80 (Mission Hills Road) to help alleviate frequent congestion at the intersection, particularly for
residents living in the Wynlake and other subdivisions off County Road 80.
The levels of service for the State Route 119 are presented in Table 2-9. These LOS are provided for
contextual purposes and are intended to document the roadway’s existing conditions. They are not intended
to justify any improvement projects.
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Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
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Table 2-9: SR 119 Roadway Segment Level of Service
AADT
Volume
LOS
County Road 26 (Fulton Springs Road)
22,679
F
Dale Drive
21,330
F
County Road 80 (Missions Hills Road)
14,506
D
Roadway Segment
From
Kent Dairy Road
To
County Road 26 (Fulton Springs Road)
Dale Drive
4.3. Transportation and Land Use Connection
The City of Alabaster has a typical suburban pattern of development. The vast majority of the city is
developed in a pattern of relative low density. Though the general pattern of development is low density,
development density tends to be focused around major roads. The higher the traffic volume on the road,
typically the more dense the development along that road. Correspondingly, as traffic volume decreases, so
also does the development along the road.
In general, individual developments in the City of Alabaster are often not connected to adjacent
developments by either pedestrian or roadway connections. Thus to access virtually all developments, an
automobile trip or a relatively long and often dangerous pedestrian trip must be made. Furthermore, the
trip must exit one development onto a collector or arterial street and then enter another development
even though the developments are adjacent. This is almost always the case with adjacent residential
developments and is usually the case with adjacent commercial developments. Where residential and
commercial developments are adjacent, there is also typically no connection. This pattern of development
has led to the need for an automobile in order to perform even the most basic every day functions.
The City of Alabaster’s transportation system is largely defined by topography. The area’s topography has
helped to shape the City’s roads, and the slope of the land dictates both buildable land and the route for
optimal roadways. The area’s topography has largely limited the City’s growth to a valley. As a result these
roadways have grown in their role as arterial highways and helped shaped land use along their corridors.
As noted in the commuting profile earlier in this chapter, the majority of Alabaster residents commute to
work outside of Alabaster. This separation of jobs and housing increases strain to worker finances, adds
congestion to area roadways and contributes to air quality issues. Better planned development policies can
help to reduce travel times, can reduce the amount of land developed overall to meet the needs of existing
and growing populations, and can create greater efficiency in the provision and use of public infrastructure
and services.
Major influences on the current traffic patterns include the continued growth and urbanization of the
Birmingham metropolitan area’s rural communities, particularly those communities located to the south and
east of Alabaster; the growing influence of job centers located in Hoover and the U.S. 280 corridor, and; the
city‘s own economic activity centers: Industrial sites, the hospital, commercial centers, parks and recreational
facilities, etc.
4.4. Planned/Programmed Projects
At present, the City of Alabaster has one (1) major transportation project with programmed funding in the
Birmingham Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The project
is to add SR 119 between CR 26 (Fulton Springs Road) and CR 80 (Mission Hills Road), widening the roadway
from its current two (2) lane configuration to five (5) lanes e.g. 4 travel lanes with a two-way left turn lane.
This segment of SR 119 would connect with an existing five (5) lane segment north of the study location, and
will address an existing bottle neck where the 5 lane section narrows to two lanes just north of CR 26 (Fulton
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
47
Community Profile
Springs Road). The additional capacity also will address the ever increasing congestion along SR 119 resulting
from additional residential development in the cities of Alabaster and Montevallo. According to the TIP, the
project has a total project cost of just over $11.2 million, with $175k used for the initial corridor study, $250k
going towards preliminary engineering, $532k going towards right-of-way acquisition, and $10.3 million going
towards construction.
4.5. Issues and Infrastructure
A number of transportation concerns were identified by the City of Alabaster’s leaders and residents alike.
These concerns reflected frustration with the increasingly congested conditions of SR 119. Concerns also
were expressed about the delays caused by train traffic at the intersection of U.S. 31 and SR 119, as well as a
crossing at SR 119 between 13th and 14th Avenues SW, just north of the Thompson 6th Grade Center.
In addition to these concerns, residents, businesses, and community leaders also expressed concern about
congestion at the interchange of I-65 and U.S. 31, and the segment of roadway I-65 and Propst Promenade
Parkway. Concerns also were expressed about the provision of public transportation services for both
commuters to/from the City of Alabaster, and seniors seeking to gain access to the Shelby Baptist Medical
Center and its affiliated medical uses located in the Medical Mile Corridor. Finally, residents and city leaders
expressed a desire to expand and improve the existing Buck Creek Trail to Veteran Park. The existing Buck
Creek Trail currently runs between Buck Creek Park and Warrior Park through the Siluria Mill community.
5. Utilities and Infrastructure
5.1. Water Supply and Delivery Infrastructure
The Alabaster Water System is operated by the Alabaster Water Board provides service to approximately
13,690 metered connections. Although there are 13,690 metered connections, some of these locations
are vacant and are not currently being billed. The number of active accounts fluctuates as residents and
businesses move in and out of the community.
In March 2015, the Alabaster Water Board billed a total of 11,312 residential and commercial accounts inside
the City limits, 310 irrigation accounts inside the City limits and billed 1,269 water accounts outside the
City limits. 67% of metered water sales (revenue) are from residential accounts, with 93% of all the water
accounts being residential. 33% of metered water sales (revenue) are from non-residential accounts, with
7% of the water accounts being non-residential.
Alabaster Water operates three (3) wells, two (2) membrane filtration plants, four (4) booster pump stations
and eleven (11) water storage tanks. The water tanks provide for system storage to assist with peak water
demands and fire protection. Of the eleven (11) tanks, six (6) are elevated storage tanks and five (5) are
ground storage tanks.
Average annual daily demand (or usage) of water was 5.3 Million Gallons per Day (MGD) in 2012, but has
decreased in 2013 to 3.9 MGD and decreased further to 3.6 MGD in 2014. The average demands fluctuate
over time depending on the amount and frequency of rainfall. 2012 was a drought year with below normal
rainfall, and 2013 and 2014 were wet years with above normal rainfall.
The eleven (11) tanks represent a storage capacity of 10.7 MGD. The Alabaster Water Board operates five (5)
pressure zones due to the topography/elevation changes within the service area and the tanks are located
throughout the water system in the various pressure zones. The booster pump stations pump water to the
various pressure zones and assist with maintaining system pressure and tank levels.
48
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-19: Water Infrastructure Map (2004)
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Figure 2-20: Sewer Infrastructure Map
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The water rates vary by meter size and usage. The rates have a minimum or base bill that includes some
gallons of water dependent on meter size and then there are two blocks above the minimum.
• For a ¾-inch residential meter, the minimum or base bill with 2,500 gallons of water included is
$14.76.
• Water usage above 2,500 gallons and up to 15,000 gallons (block 1) is billed at a rate of $4.39
per thousand gallons and for usage above 15,000 gallons (block 2) the rate is $4.77 per thousand
gallons. Thus a bill for 5,000 gallons would be $25.74 ($14.76 + 2,500 gallons*$4.39/1,000).
The major waterlines in Alabaster consist of 6 inch, 8 inch, 10 inch, 12 inch and 18 inch lines. The location of
tanks, wells, pump stations, water tanks and waterlines is depicted in Figure 2-19 and does not include the
smaller distribution waterlines.
5.2. Wastewater Collection and Treatment
The City’s Environmental Collections personnel are responsible for Alabaster’s network of sewer lines and
pump stations. Alabaster has approximately 100 miles of main line and 100-200 miles of secondary lines,
most of which are spread out through subdivisions. The customer’s lines are connected from house or
business lines to these secondary lines.
Pump stations are used due to the topography of the land in and around Alabaster. Pump stations pump the
wastewater to the treatment plant when gravity cannot naturally accomplish the flow. A point of interest:
the City of Alabaster has a gravity sewer line which flows from Shelby County Airport to the treatment
plant. There are presently 48 pump stations, which consist of two pumps per station. Wasterwater flows
through a pump at 100-350 gallons per minute with elevation changes ranging from 10 to 197 feet. As new
subdivisions are developed and current subdivisions continue to grow, new pump stations will be constructed
and/or upgraded.
The Treatment Plant is a facility which has a capacity of treating 7.6 MGD that purifies and cleans the sewage
to an acceptable standard that is mandated by the state. It then discharges effluent (treated wastewater)
back into the natural water flow. The current usage is an average daily flow of 4.6 MGD. Sewage enters the
treatment plant through Pump Station #1 which has three submersible pumps, each having the capacity of
3,250 gallons per minute. Sewage goes through a preliminary grit remover unit that removes any grit, sand
or gravel which might have entered the lines during construction. After grit removal, sewage enters the
rotomat which removes any solid waste material that is not boidegradable. Next, it enters Pump Station #2
where flow is proportionally split to aeration zones where oxygen is added to stabilize the biological reaction.
This reaction is where bugs that are only seen through the microscope breakdown of the solid waste. Next is
the clarification unit where a settling process removes solid wastes/sludge.
After clarification, the wastewater goes through sand filters that filter any microscopic solids that are left.
Last, it goes through an ultraviolet disinfecting system that kills any pathogens that remain followed by a
cascade which increases dissolved oxygen before the final product is discharged back into the natural water
flow.
Residential customers are billed a base rate of $22.00 plus $3.06 per 1,000 gallon usage rate. There is a cap
for this service at $65.00. Non-residential customers are billed at a base rate of $53.65 plus $11.80 per 1,000
gallon usage rate after 5,000 gallons. There is no cap for this service.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
51
Community Profile
5.3. Solid Waste Collection, Recycling, and Disposal
Advanced Disposal provides trash and curbside recycling. Residents are charged $15 per month for garbage,
recycling, brush and limb, and non-toxic junk and rubbish collection.
5.4. Broadband Internet Availability
Telecommunications utilities in Alabaster encompass conventional wireline telephone, wireless
communications (Asymmetric xDSL, Fiber Optic Cable, Symmetric xDSL, Copper Wire Cable, Cable Modem),
and cable television. Currently, the City of Alabaster is covered by five wireless broadband service providers.
They include:
• Bellsouth Telecommunications
• Level 3 Communications LLC
• MegaPath Corporation
• Charter Communications, and
• TW Telecom of Alabama Inc.
Within the City limits, most consumers can chose between DSL technology, and cable technology. However,
there is a lack of service in the southeastern edge of Alabaster, near the Shelby County Airport and County
Road 12. Fiber optic technology is limited and is available along U.S. 31 (near Shelby Baptist and the
intersection of 1ST Street West and U.S 31), Industrial Road (near Avanti Polar Lipids and Kingwood Church),
and a small section of County Road 26 (near Impatient Creations). Figure 2-21 illustrates the availability of
this infrastructure in the City of Alabaster.
Table 2-10 depicts the City of Alabaster’s percent of population with access to various broadband technology.
Table 2-11 provides an explanation of download and upload speeds available from each broadband provider.
Table 2-10: Percent of Alabaster Population with Broadband Internet Access
Technology
Percent of Population with Access
DSL
95.1%
Fiber Optic Cable
1.7%
Copper Cable
Wireless Broadband
Mobile Internet
100.0%
100.0%
100.0%
Source: US Dept. of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, State Broadband Initiative, Census
Place, Alabaster Alabama.
52
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Figure 2-21: Broadband Coverage Map
"
)
1
$
52
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)
33
¬
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261
Community Anchor Institution
Alabaster City Limits
Cable Modem
Fiber Optic Cable
"
)
52E
Asymmetric xDSL
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£
31
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)
58
Symmetric xDSL
§
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Copper Cable
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65
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0.5
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"
)
22
)
"
22
Source: US Dept. of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, State
Broadband Initiative (SHP format
16
June 30, 2014).
"
)
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
53
Community Profile
Table 2-11: Wireless Broadband Provider Speeds
Provider Name
Technology
Available
Maximum
Advertised
Download
Speed
Typical
Download
Speed
Maximum
Advertised
Upload
Speed
Typical Upload
Speed
TW Telecom of
Alabama, Inc.
Copper Cable
3 mbps –
6 mbps
N/A
3 mbps 6 mbps
N/A
AT&T
Asymmetric xDSL
768 kbps 50 mbps
N/A
200 kbps 10 mbps
N/A
MegaPath Corporation
Symmetric xDSL &
Copper Cable
1.5 mbps10 mbps
768 mbps 6 mbps
200 kbps 6 mbps
200 kbps 6 mbps
Charter
Communications
Cable Modem DOCSIS 3.0 Down
100 mbps 1 gbps
50 mbps 100 mbps
3 mbps 6 mbps
3 mbps 6 mbps
Level 3
Communications, LLC
Fiber Optic Cable
1 gbps+
1 gbps+
1 gbps +
1 gbps+
Source: US Dept. of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, State Broadband Initiative (SHP format
June 30, 2014).
Technology Definitions from the National Broadband Classroom:
•
•
•
•
•
•
54
Community Anchor Institution: schools, libraries, medical healthcare providers, public safety
entities, community colleges, and other institutions of higher education, and other community
support organization and agencies that provide outreach, access, equipment and support services
to facilitate greater use of broadband service by vulnerable populations, including low-income, the
unemployed and the aged.
Copper Wire: Copper wire technology uses phone lines to transmit data.
Asymmetric xDSL: Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) transmit information over traditional copper
telephone lines via a modem. Asymmetric xDSL is primarily used by residential consumers and
typically provides faster download speeds than upload speeds.
Symmetric xDSL: Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) transmit information over traditional copper
telephone lines via a modem. Symmetric xDSL is intended to provide equal speed for sending and
receiving data. This arrangement is standard for business that move large files among various users,
between multiple sources.
Cable Modem: Cable modem service enables users to have access to high-speed internet service
using the same coaxial cables that deliver cable TV programming. Users can access the internet
without disrupting television programming.
Fiber Optic Cable: Fiber optic technology converts electrical signals carrying data to light and then
sends the light through transparent glass fibers. Fiber technology has the capacity to transmit data
at speeds surpassing any other broadband technology.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
6. Community Facilities and Services
6.1. Schools
Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, Alabaster created a separated school district and split from the
Shelby County School system. The Alabaster school district has six schools, consisting of Creek View
Elementary School, Meadow View Elementary School, Thompson Intermediate School, Thompson Sixth
Grade Center, Thompson Middle School, and Thompson High School. School enrollment for the entire
Alabaster School system currently totals 5,995 students for the 2014 - 2015 school year.
Table 2-12: School Enrollment for the 2014-2015 School Year
School
Enrollment
Creek View Elementary
885
Meadow View Elementary
898
Thompson Intermediate
961
Thompson Sixth
456
Thompson Middle
1,003
Thompson High
1,792
6.2. Police
The Alabaster Police Department is located in the old City Hall at 201 1st Street North, operating out of this
one central police station with approximately 84 people, 40 of whom are sworn police officers. A detailed list
of police department sworn personnel by occupation and designation as well as a list of police department
equipment is shown in Tables 2-13 and 2-14.
A School Resource Officer Program began in 2002, allowing the Alabaster Police Department to be able
to assign police officers to the public schools, through federal grants. Since then the program has been
enhanced this program and the individual skills and special training of the officers have helped to keep the
schools in Alabaster safe.
Table 2-13: Police Department Sworn Personnel (2015)
Occupation
#
Designation
Chief
1
Administrative Management
Captain
1
Administrative Management
Lieutenant
2
Management
Sergeant
11
Line Supervisors
Corporals
9
Patrol
Patrolman
37
Patrol
Communication Officers
11
Communications
Code Enforcement Officer
1
Code Enforcement
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
55
Community Profile
Occupation
Community Relation Officers
#
Designation
1 (Lt.)
Staff Support Officers
Table 2-14: Police Department Equipment (2015)
Vehicle/
Equipment
#
Year
Make/Model
Condition
Patrol Cars
47
2003 – 2014
Ford / Chevy
Poor - Good
Chiefs Car
1
2014
Chevy Tahoe
Good
Other Vehicles
20
1998 – 2012
Ford / Chevy / Dodge
Poor - Good
Shotguns
5
Computers
96
-
-
-
6.3. Fire
The Alabaster Fire Department was established in 1952 operates out of three fire stations with 59 full-time
personnel and five fire trucks. The Department provides fire suppression services, advanced life support
emergency medical care, technical rescue services, fire code inspections, and a wide variety of public
education programs. The Department is committed to teaching fire prevention in the schools and has a
Smoke Detector Program to provide free smoke detectors to all homes in Alabaster.
Fire Station #1 is located at 890 1st Avenue W. next to the Albert L. Scott Library, Fire Station #2 is located at
1950 Butler Road (CR 12), and Fire Station #3 is located at 910 1st Street South (U.S. 31).
Currently, the Alabaster Fire Department has an ISO rating of 4 out of a possible 9 (with a rating of 1 being
the best). Barriers such as railways can reduce response times and raise the ISO rating. ISO ratings are used
to calculate residential and commercial property insurance costs. Detailed lists of fire department personnel
and equipment are shown in Tables 2-15 and 2-16.
Table 2-15: Fire Department Personnel (2015)
Occupation
#
Full-time Firefighter
52
Part-time Firefighter
7
Table 2-16: Fire Department Equipment (2015)
56
Vehicle/Equipment
#
Year
Make/Model
Condition
Fire Truck
1
2014
Pierce Velocity
Excellent
Fire Truck
1
2007
KME Predator
Good
Fire Truck
1
2004
KME Predator
Good
Fire Truck
1
1996
E-One Quint
Fair
Fire Truck
1
1991
E-One Hush
Fair
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
6.4. Parks and Recreation
The Alabaster Parks and Recreation Department is located at 100 Depot Street in the Old Train Depot and
provides and maintains a system of eight parks and one trail for the residents of Alabaster. The City of
Alabaster partnered with Shelby County to develop the Buck Creek Trail, which opened in 2009, connecting
Warrior Park to Buck Creek Park. Residents can access the Buck Creek Trail at three different locations – the
Depot, Buck Creek Park, and the Alabaster Senior Activity Center. A detailed list of the recreational facilities
within Alabaster is shown in Table 2-17. While not located within Alabaster, Oak Mountain State Park is just
north of Alabaster in the City of Pelham and consists of 9,450 acres and includes hiking, mountain biking,
fishing, camping, a wildlife rehabilitation area, and other outdoor opportunities for recreation.
Table 2-17: Alabaster Recreational Facilities
Approx.
Acres
Description
Veterans Park
7305 Hwy. 119,
Alabaster, AL 35007
90
Concessions, playgrounds, five (5) baseball/
softball fields, disc golf, a skate park, restrooms,
lighted walking trails, batting cages, an arbor, the
Beneful Dream Dog Park and nine (9) pavilions.
Abbey Wooley Park
320 Park Road,
Alabaster, AL 35007
4.04
Playground, picnic tables, a pavilion, restrooms,
a ¼ mile walking track, swings, and a basketball
court.
701 Sixth Avenue SW,
Alabaster, AL 35007
44
Playground, picnic areas, walking track with
exercise station, a football field, three (3) softball
fields, concession stand, restrooms, gazebo, and
the Buck Creek Trail that connects to Warrior
Park.
1950 Butler Road,
Alabaster, AL 35007
6.1
Quarter-mile walking track, playground, and
picnic tables.
Facility
Buck Creek Park and
Trail
Heroes Park
Location
Limestone Park
2400 Hwy. 31 South,
Alabaster, AL 35007
100
A natural park with ample bird watching areas as
well as a landing strip for RC Plane and Helicopter
enthusiasts. It also features a shooting range
training facility for Police and Fire Department
personnel.
Municipal Park
500 Warrior Drive,
Alabaster, AL 35007
32
Basketball courts, soccer fields, pavilions, picnic
areas, a playground, and restrooms.
Warrior Park
100 City Park Lane,
Alabaster, AL 35007
13.1
Facilities include four (4) baseball/softball fields,
batting cages, playground, press box, concession
stand, and restrooms.
Willie B. Arrington Park
215 Yellowhammer
Drive, Alabaster, AL
35007
0.65
Neighborhood Park currently under development.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
57
Community Profile
Figure 2-22: Parks and Open Space Map
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Alabaster City Limits
52
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/ Depot
Municipal
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1
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)
16
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
"
)
22
Community Profile
6.5. Library
Alabaster is home to a single library, the Albert L. Scott library which is located at 100 9th Street NW. The
Alabaster City Library was built in 1983 on land donated by one of the city’s founding families. The library is
administered under the Shelby County Library system.
The Library’s estimated patron door count for the 2013-2104 fiscal year was 127,438 and during that fiscal
year 15,847 library cards were issued or renewed. Library cards are free of charge to anyone living within
Shelby County or working in the City of Alabaster.
The Library Board supervises the library and is appointed by the Alabaster City Council. The Library has a
yearly circulation of approximately 150,000 items, which include books, DVDs, audio books, e-books, e-audio
books, and music CDs. Internet access is also available through the library. Almost 300 programs are offered
through the library throughout the year.
7. Image and Identity
7.1. Visual Characteristics
The City’s residential, commercial, civic and urban center forms and building typologies are presented in this
section. Examining the form of Alabaster’s built environment allows the City to promote future developments
that will complement and enhance the City’s existing character.
Viewsheds
Viewsheds are highly visible areas of significant scenic or historic value designated for preservation against
developments or other changes that obstruct or diminish its view from a public and, in some cases, private
area (e.g., parks, trails, roads, etc.). In Alabaster, two areas have been identified as potential viewsheds. The
first is the Siluria Mill water tower. Views of this structure from 7th Street SW and Railroad Street should
be preserved. The second area that was identified as a viewshed was the stretch of U.S. 31, between 2nd
Place NW and SR 119, commonly referred to as “Old Main Street.” The views of “Old Main Street” from
surrounding ridgelines should be preserved when possible.
Colonial Revival
Bungalow
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
59
Community Profile
Streetscapes
In Alabaster, no other streetscape is more prominent than the “Old
Main Street.” The “Old Main Street,” particularly its west side, has
landscaped sidewalks with pavers, streetlights embellished with
hanging flower pots, on-street parking, and buildings fronting the
street to create a contiguous street facade. These street elements,
combined with the corridor’s rich history, create an inviting and
walkable environment for residents.
Residential
The majority of Alabaster’s housing stock is relatively new. According to ESRI’s 2014 estimates, approximately
60% of the houses in Alabaster were constructed from 1990 to the present. This period was influential
in shaping the residential architecture of the City. The remaining houses were built during the following
periods: 1970-1989 (32%) and 1969 or earlier (8%).
•
1969 or earlier
Older communities in the region such as Birmingham, Homewood, Bessemer, and Mountain Brook,
have a significant amount of historic housing stock. Alabaster, by contrast, has relatively few historic
detached single-family houses. Remnants of the City’s historic houses can be found along sections
of U.S. 31 and in the Siluria Mill area, where some of these houses once served as residences for
the mill’s workers. Architectural styles such as the bungalow, colonial revival and minimal traditional
can be found in these areas. Over time, some of the houses were repurposed for commercial use,
especially along U.S. 31.
Alabaster’s early neighborhoods were also generally less dense than the older neighborhoods of
adjacent cities, reflecting more of a rural or semi-rural character. Typical streets on which early
homes fronted were rural in design, having a relatively narrow pavement width and lacking the
sidewalks and curb-and-gutter elements prevalent in neighborhoods in adjacent, more urban
communities.
•
60
1970-1989
This housing development period, which accounts for almost a third of the City’s housing stock, is
characterized by the Neo-Colonial style and many variations of the American Ranch style. American
Ranch houses were generally one-story and built on open crawl spaces. They also featured a linear
floor plan with the long axis of the home aligned parallel to the street to accommodate relatively
large front and rear yards. Colonial in only its name, the neo-Colonial style houses loosely borrowed
architectural details from its predecessor. Typically rectangular in shape and two to three stories,
these houses have a central entry-hall floor plan.
Houses in this period were developed as part of larger subdivisions with a sense of uniformity that
contrasted with the more variable, rural character of older neighborhoods. However, streets in
these new subdivisions continued to be modest and somewhat rural in character—lacking sidewalks
and conventional curb and gutter systems.
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
Neo-Colonial
•
Split-Level Ranch
1990-Present
Alabaster has experienced rapid residential growth in the last twenty plus years, compared
to previous decades. Houses during this period were characterized by Neo-eclectic styles –
conglomeration of various architectural styles. These houses generally featured more complex,
steeper roof forms and less architectural detail. Two-car garages also became a staple of Neoeclectic houses. Larger houses often featured side-loaded garages while smaller houses (on smaller
lots) typically had garages projecting from the front of the house.
This period also featured high-density housing, including attached townhouses, apartments
and other multifamily developments that were a blend of various traditional and contemporary
architectural styles. These developments comprise a relatively small amount of the overall
residential stock in Alabaster and vary in size, ranging from 20 to 200 units. Like many contemporary
multifamily developments in the Southeast, the buildings are set back from the street to
accommodate off-street parking in the front. This can be seen in apartment complexes, such as
Wellington Manor Apartments and Montevallo Place Apartments.
Neo-Eclectic
Wellington Manor Apartments
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
61
Community Profile
Commercial
Most of Alabaster’s commercial areas developed along U.S. 31, between CR 68 and CR 26 (Fulton Springs
Road), over the last 20 years. Alabaster’s commercial developments are primarily suburban, “highwayoriented,” in character and consist of small offices adapted from older homes, highway retail franchises,
refurbished strip centers and newer shopping centers and office developments. Buildings, both single- and
multi-tenant, are typically one-story and are set back from the street behind surface parking lots. The one
exception to the highway-oriented developments found along U.S. 31 is the “Old Main Street,” as mentioned
above.
Foodland
Old Main Street
Civic and Institutional Buildings
Alabaster’s municipal buildings, schools and churches are important, distinguishing elements to the City’s
overall sense-of-place. This is the most noticeable in the new City Hall building, which features a more
modern expression of Tudor style architecture. The City Hall was rebuilt on the same site that once housed
the iconic Siluria Mill building. Today, the only visible remnant of the mill is the water tower, which is now
part of the City’s municipal complex.
Water Tower
62
Alabaster City
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
Community Profile
7.2. Significant Sites and Structures
Alabaster was founded in 1925, and incorporated into Shelby County 1953. The founding fathers established
a village complete with housing, retail, and industrial development. At present, no historic district boundaries
have been established, nor are there any listings on the National Register of Historic places, but the following
places and structures have been identified by the City and its residents as historically significant.
Significant Sites
• Siluria Mill: a historic mill community, founded in 1896, and incorporated into the City of Alabaster
in 1971. Siluria Mill is located in an area of the City that is under development which includes the
Alabaster City Hall and Senior Center.
• Historic Downtown: Alabaster’s historic Main Street district. The historic downtown has housed the
First Bank of Alabaster, a neighborhood grocery store, Edmunds Barber shop, and Shelby Florist.
The historic Main Street is located on U.S. 31 between SR 119 and 2nd Place NW.
• Old 1St Ward Neighborhood: A historically African American community in northeast Alabaster
bounded by I-65, U.S. 31 and the railroad.
• Benton Family Cemetery: Located on SR 119 and established in 1842.
• Harless Cemetery: Located on CR 24. It was established as a burying ground in the early 1800s. The
Harless family is believed to be the first white settlers to the Ebenezer community.
• Narbors Cemetery: Located on Mellow Drive north of U.S. 31, Alabaster Alabama and established in
1686.
Significant Structures and Landmarks
• First Bank of Alabaster: located on U.S. 31, founded 1952.
• Edmonds Barber Shop: located on U.S 31, founded in 1961, still in business.
• Old City Hall: located on U.S. 31, completed in 1960.
• Siluria Mills Water Tower: located on 7th Ave.
• Mill House: located in Siluria Mills, on 11th Ave.
• Kent Dairy Farm Silo: located on SR 119 and CR 26 (Fulton Springs Road).
Alabaster Forward: Appendix A Existing Conditions
63

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