It's been 25 years since Alpine's zoning plan was overhauled and, with its explosive growth, the city is feeling growing pains.
So far this year, Alpine has issued twice as many building permits - approximately 70 - as it did last year. According to Ellis Robinson, building inspector, subdivision applications currently are being processed that will create more than 200 new building lots, and other subdivision proposals are "cooking."Alpine, with a population of 3,500, revamped its master plan at the end of the summer and currently is reworking its zoning plan. City officials want to ensure that growth takes place in an orderly fashion.
"We just want to see how citizens want to grow as a community and zone accordingly," said Mayor Elaine Barnes.
This week, about 220 residents attended public meetings held by the Alpine Planning Commission to discuss a new zoning proposal for the city. Residents did not agree about much, except that few want Alpine to grow very much.
"Residents don't want Alpine to become a heavily commercial area, but most people wouldn't mind having their basic needs met in Alpine," Barnes said.
Planning Commission Chairman James W. Johnston said "there are a lot things in the (proposed zoning) plan that give people heartburn."
The plan creates residential zones ranging from half-acre lots to 5-acre parcels, a business/commercial zone at the south end of town, and a medium-density, multifamily zone.
Some residents think the 5-acre parcel zone is too large for single dwellings, some say the city's zones should be left alone and yet others, who are unable to develop their property, feel discriminated against.
"Nobody wants to grow very much, but all want to be able to do what they want with their property," Johnston said.
The proposed plan is a "straw man"; it will be modified based on residents' comments, Johnston said.
"It's absolutely certain we won't make everybody happy," Johnston said.
Residents attending Wednesday's public meeting said before the city allows more growth it needs to address traffic routes through and from the city.
After a zoning plan is in place, Barnes said the city will "attack roads and water and other parts of the master plan."
The Planning Commission hopes to complete the zoning plan by the end of November.