The city Planning Commission is proposing that a band around the perimeter of the city be rezoned for one-acre building lots rather than half-acre lots.

By decreasing building density in that band, the Planning Commission hopes to slow growth in the city, said James W. Johnston, commission chairman. The city is being flooded with building applications, but Alpine's infrastructure is incapable of handling the type of growth the city is experiencing."The citizens of Alpine want larger lots, and we recognize the necessity for having them because our schools are overcrowded (and) we don't have water pressure in certain areas," Johnston said. "This is going to flatten development."

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the city's zoning map, on Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m. at Alpine Elementary School, 402 E. 300 North.

Johnston said the feedback he has received so far about the proposal is mostly positive.

"We wanted to be very certain that as we modified zoning we didn't do anything that was arbitrary or capricious," he said. "We have a very small staff - we don't have any full-time planners. Rather than try to do everything in one fell swoop, it is our intent to address the immediate issue right now, and that is the size of the lots. It (the proposed zone change) is a compromise."

Developers who currently have applications on file with the city will be able to proceed with their projects under the existing ordinance, Johnston said.

Planning for growth is like trying to hit a moving target, Johnston said. A city can draw up growth projections, but it can never be sure how many people will actually settle in a community, how many people there will be per family, how much water an individual family will use, etc.

Based on what happens during the public hearing, the commission will either consider additional modifications to the zoning map or send its proposal unchanged to the City Council for approval.

Alpine Mayor Elaine Barnes called the proposed zone change "great" and thinks residents will be "mostly pleased with it."

Once the zoning map is amended, the city will begin working on its streets and water master plans, Barnes said.

"The citizens of Alpine want larger lots, and we recognize the necessity for having them because our schools are overcrowded and we don't have water pressure in certain areas." - Planning Commission Chairman James W. Johnston.