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Planners, council discuss city’s neighborhoods

By DAVID MELSON - dmelson@t-g.com
Posted 3/21/23

Members of Shelbyville’s planning commission, City Council, and several city staff members were taken on a bus tour of neighborhoods by Director of Planning and Community Development Waleed …

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Planners, council discuss city’s neighborhoods


Members of Shelbyville’s planning commission, City Council, and several city staff members were taken on a bus tour of neighborhoods by Director of Planning and Community Development Waleed Albakry last Wednesday.

The trip is a prelude to a proposed new set of subdivision regulations to be presented for approval later this year.

Four council members participated. Council members Gary Haile and Henry Feldhaus and Mayor Randy Carroll were not present for a luncheon discussion following the tour.

Standout items

Participants were asked their strongest takeaways from the tour. Comments focused on the narrow streets in some neighborhoods where cars are often parked in front of homes, causing a “zig-zag” for emergency vehicles and trash trucks. Fire Chief Matt Doak said cluttered streets are a “touchy” subject in public housing areas.

Albakry asked participants to imagine they were visiting a community new to them - what would stand out? One suggestion was made that Shelbyville needs better “standards” than currently exist.

Several urged required green spaces in new subdivisions other than traditional developments with single-family homes and regularly-sized yards (known as R-1 zoning.) Some noted several newer developments with no open spaces.

Flag lots, best described as “L-shaped lots,” were mentioned as a problem. These feature houses built behind other houses on one lot, with one driveway for both and limited space for emergency vehicles to reach the residence in back.

Albakry said some of the past problems occurred because city departments didn’t work together as well as today.

Heavier traffic

Traffic impact studies are required for new subdivisions of 75 or more lots. Several planning commission members suggested lowering that number to 55 and adding a similar requirement for commercial and industrial developments.

Planning Commission member Dawn Gonzales said many heavily-trafficked roads in Shelbyville, such as Fairfield Pike, weren’t designed for the amount of traffic fast-growing Shelbyville now generates. Fairfield Pike in particular is carrying traffic from new developments and is one of several major thoroughfares with lesser grade asphalt rather than the stronger type normally used on such streets, Gonzales said.

This brought up a suggestion that developers could foot the bill for widening roads through an impact fee or being made to improve frontage at their developments – subsidizing costs without penalizing current taxpayers.

Public Works Director Buck Vallad said the cost for rebuilding Deery Street from the Madison Street intersection to Fairfield Pike is expected to cost $4 million, with work not set to start for two years. The cost to rebuild the full length of Fairfield Pike within Shelbyville completely, including underground utilities and storm drainage completely, has been estimated at $35-40 million, Vallad said.

More thoughts

City Attorney Ginger Shofner suggested new developments be required to have mail kiosks instead of mailboxes.

A suggestion was made that underground secondary utility lines be made mandatory.

Requiring site plans for new developments is “long overdue and should have been done yesterday,” said Albakry, who said state officials have been surprised Shelbyville doesn’t yet have a requirement.

City Manager Scott Collins said design standards should be added for Dollar General Stores. Some cities have taken that step, Collins said, and have much more attractive Dollar General buildings as a result.

Strong emphasis in Shelbyville’s future planning is being made on North Main Street, Madison Street, and Highway 437 Bypass, Albakry said, due to growth patterns.