You can pick up a copy of “Future Fairhope: Moving Forward Together” at the Nix Center, City Hall or the Fairhope Library.
HISTORY: Fairhope is rich in culture, heritage, and tradition that lifelong Fairhopers and newer residents alike have come to cherish equally.
PRESENT: Every day we are reminded that nothing stands still. Change is inevitable and must be guided to reflect the wishes and needs of our citizens, our businesses, our city employees, and our government which serves all stakeholders.
FUTURE: Fairhope has a future that is being driven by record growth. Growth cannot be allowed to occur randomly. Growth must represent our values. It must add to the quality of life for which Fairhope is known and which is the reason for all this growth. To come to share in what is so special about Fairhope is to share in the responsibility of protecting it.
Because we must have infrastructure that is safe and serve our growing needs now and into the future, we’ve created a team between our Planning Department, Public Utilities and Economic & Community Development departments that allows us to move our vision forward openly and with community input and support.
We will exercise responsible growth that will be resilient and capable of responding to changing times and conditions. We are looking to new technology and innovative ways to treat waste water, provide smart metering and high-speed internet via fiber-to-home service.
Drainage has been a main concern, we’re taking advantage of the moratorium to develop appropriate regulations that will help us get a better handle on storm water drainage. We cannot change the fact we live in the rainiest city in the U.S., but we can learn to live better and build better within our watershed environment.
Because you’ve told us you’re concerned about growing tourism and resulting traffic and parking problems, we are creating a new BRATS transportation hub, improving the parking garage facilities, encouraging entrepreneurial transportation and finalizing our Complete Streets program with improved bicycle and pedestrian lanes.
Now is the time we lay the plans to be implemented to meet the needs of our growth, to preserve our lifestyle and our heritage. We all have different approaches to solving the issue that face our city. That’s good! We eagerly share those approaches. And when we share them with respect for each other, they blend together and take root and form solutions we can all live with.
It will take more than your government alone to accomplish the all-encompassing task that lies before us. We want to partner with our citizens, our communities and our businesses to reach the solutions that will work for Future Fairhope: Moving Forward Together.
In seeking ways to encourage civic participation and get more feedback from our citizens, we launched an online tool called One Fairhope Forum on July 27th.
The forum was open for five days on the topic of Responsible Growth. Here are the highlights from this poll:
There were 12 seeded comments to help generate a conversation including “population growth is putting a strain on our city-provided services” and “the growth in Fairhope is a reflection of the city and demonstrates that Fairhope is a great place to live and call home”.
Around 100 Additional comments were made by those who participated in the survey and these were moderated by a third party (the creators of this platform) to exclude comments that did not relate to growth or that were repeats of similar comments. City officials did not have access to the comments.
Our Economic and Community Development Director was the point of contact for the platform, called polis (Greek for tight-knit, small community), and she communicated directly with their CEO to design the process. The final result was 63 total comments on which people could weigh in.
In total, 6224 positions, or votes, on statements were submitted.
This kind and scale of participation is a very exciting start to an exciting and effective method of gauging citizen input. I hope we can continue to use this platform to get citizen input on a variety of topics.
What we learned from this particular survey is that people feel a lot of different ways about the issue of responsible growth. Of course we knew this going in, but the question we hoped to answer is “What are the specific issues and how do different stakeholder groups feel about those things?”
The recurring themes included: concern about school overcrowding, increases in traffic, zoning outside of city limits, strain on infrastructure – mainly stormwater, and inevitability vs. control (what is inevitable vs. what the city can control).