What will Allenhurst look like in 25 years? That’s what a few residents came together to discuss at the community planning meeting at the Allenhurst Town Hall.
The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission held a community planning meeting at the little yellow house to review development trends and receive input about future land use maps. Properties were not officially rezoned during the meeting; rather, designations of how residents see properties being used in the future were given. To rezone an area, the matter has to go before the Planning Commission.
Tuesday’s meeting was the eighth of 12 planning meetings hosted by the LCPC to create the 2040 Liberty County Comprehensive Plan. This is part of the process of updating plan-use maps every five years.
“Maps help with infrastructure and is a blueprint for future development,” said Melissa Jones, LCPC planner II.
Jones went on to describe some of Allenhurst’s key characteristics. The town is 732 acres in area, has a significant amount single-family residential development, concentrated area of industrial development and Highway 84 as the major thoroughfare.
“Now one of the good things about Allenhurst is that you do have a historical district and we want to make sure that we pay attention to that historical district,” Jones said. “Tonight, we’re going to mark up the map, and that’s where all of you are very important. This is your community, and we want to make sure that we’re doing what you all think is best for the community.”
Jones said Highway 84 is where there will most likely be the highest concentration of future development. She asked audience members for their thoughts were on designating the town’s stretch of Highway 84 as a mixed-use urban corridor.
That designation means an area is “… dedicated to intensive commercial, retail, services and offices along major highway corridors with an emphasis on landscaping and aesthetics. There will be minimal existing residential development, with limited possibility of new single-family development,” according to LCPC’s land-use category definitions.
“You have some residential homes along 84, and if you designate that as mixed-use, it makes it easier for the town to rezone that property if somebody comes in and wants to rezone it,” LCPC Executive Director Jeff Ricketson said. “It gives flexibility. If someone wants to continue to use it for residential, then they can. But it also gives flexibility of rezoning if somebody wants to change it to a business.”
Jones said the designation includes every rezoning category.
Lynn Pace, an LCPC assistant vice chair and Allenhurst resident, went back and forth over the designation.
“I like having residential areas on the main thoroughfare as you’re coming into a community because it kind of identifies the community. On the other hand a mixed-use will allow that,” she said. “If you have nothing but stores and commercial, I think sometimes you lose certain characteristics of what makes the town a town. But mixed use would make it easier to rezone if somebody wanted to rezone.”
After the discussion, the residents agreed to designate Highway 84 as mixed-use urban corridor.
A wooded area along the CSX railroad tracks, near Walton Street and Gwinnett Street, is currently designated as agriculture/forestry. Those at the meeting agreed that although there are trees there, the area is surrounded by houses and eventually will become residential. It was marked for future residential use.
Other areas that had designations were changed include five parcels along Dunlevie Road, between Highway 84 and the railroad tracks. The properties currently are designated residential but were marked for future commercial use. Across the same railroad tracks is a mobile-home park that currently has one remaining home on the property. That was changed to commercial use, including the parcel next to it that has overgrown grass and a dilapidated house. Property used by the Georgia Department of Transportation, near Lucas Moving & Storage, was switched to a public/institutional designation from industrial.
The tentative date for the next community planning meeting, to review the changes, is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at the Allenhurst Town Hall.