Dothan proposes regulations to guide grand vision for Highway 84 East Corridor | local news

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Dothan sets high standards for future development along the Highway 84 East Corridor.

Designers presented regulations to the public to guide growth and enforce his plan along the busy freeway while reminding people of the city’s grand vision of a suburban dreamscape that encourages new businesses and is pedestrian-friendly.

“We want to set a high bar for the appearance of this corridor and believe that a higher appearance will continue to attract business, investment and residential development to the area,” said City Manager Kevin Cowper.

During a public meeting on Feb. 25, Design Workshop said the vision in mind encourages the gradual transformation from car-centric patterns to pedestrian-centric development patterns, something the city has already prioritized with plans for sidewalks and pathways that run the length of the corridor .

It also encourages a greater diversity of land uses and building typologies, resulting in neighborhoods that provide access to daily needs in close proximity to one another, including places to live, work, relax, eat, shop, and socialize.

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That vision was first detailed in a long-term master plan the city commissioned in 2019, which included ideas for a downtown roundabout, a hotel, several parks, and more.

However, the city was unable to get developers to stick to their master plan for the area, which has led to some developments that are inconsistent with Dothan’s plan.

New planning and zoning regulations in the form of overlay districts are intended to provide the framework for areas with potential for commercial and residential development.

The Highway 84 East Corridor overlay districts are centered around three major hubs: the college-anchored district, the medical and wellness district surrounding Southeast Health, and the downtown district.

Using these as guidelines, Design Workshop presented six subdistrict boundaries to create clear transitions through the corridor and ensure development standards are appropriate: downtown core, downtown edge, mixed-use neighborhood, neighborhood, neighborhood edge, and institutional.






Design Workshop proposed six overlay districts to guide development along Highway 84 East from downtown Dothan to the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.


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“One of the big focuses is to deregulate things a bit,” said city planner Frank Breaux. “Another important point is to keep it simple.”

In addition to easing the requirements for parking spaces and vacant lots, the proposed regulations should also bring together different types of development and areas for residential, commercial and office spaces should be lined up closer together.

However, there are additional specific requirements for facade, building materials, signage and green spaces. Overall, Cowper said the new code shouldn’t place an undue burden on developers, and Breaux said there’s already a lot of interest in projects in this area.

The proposal also states that the goal is to prioritize the design and form of buildings and place less emphasis on the specific use of the building to help market fit.

“We want to promote economic vitality and prevent economic decline,” said Cowper. “So we want to keep buildings occupied and alive and wherever we have opportunities where we have vacant buildings in this corridor, have them refurbished and repurposed. We want the corridor to look visually appealing and not dirty.”

The city will have another opportunity to learn about the proposed zone code changes later in March at a public workshop. Also in late March, city leaders will host a meeting with Wiregrass Foundation executives and advisors on the future of Dothan’s downtown community block, which will tie into the city’s Transformation Through the Arts initiative and Highway 84 East Corridor Master Plan .

Sable Riley is a Dothan Eagle employee and can be reached at [email protected] or 334.712.7915. Support their work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.

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