LOCAL STUDY AND SUPPORT POSITIONS
GROWTH ISSUES FOR AUBURN (May 2000 and May 2001)
The League of Women Voters believes it is essential that the planning efforts and policies for addressing local growth issues by the City of Auburn be founded more fully on the active involvement of informed citizens. Therefore we have adopted the following:
1. To implement the Nine Principles of the Growth Boundary Plan and to guide budget decisions, the City Council should establish more specific policies to address changes since the adoption of Auburn 2020 in 1998.
We favor the development of an integrated plan for growth that includes an inventory of natural resources and regular review of best planning practices for the control/stimulation of new development, for revitalization of existing development, and for preservation of environmental and cultural resources.
2. Auburn should practice "smart growth."
3. The city should strive to preserve its traditional college town atmosphere and the quality of life it now offers; it should emphasize the recruitment of small, research-oriented companies with sound industrial practices.
4. The LWV supports increased emphasis on aesthetics in both new development and redevelopment, including landscaping requirements, sign regulations, and design standards where appropriate.
5. The League favors two additional considerations for Auburn’s current annexation practice:
(a) Annexation on request of property owner should be contingent upon such considerations as the ability of the city to provide services by a stated time.
(b) Forced annexation by legislative action should be sought (1) when a parcel is totally surrounded by the city, and (2) when development plans are incompatible with surrounding development or with city planning policies.
6. The League of Women Voters strongly supports the establishment of a Planning Commission for Lee County to write and administer land use regulations.
GREEN SPACES (May 2000 and May 2001)
The provision of green spaces as a quality of life issue has become increasingly important as Auburn continues its rapid growth; therefore, the League advocates these measures:
1. The City of Auburn should adopt the proposals of the Green Space Task Force Report for:
(a) a permanent Green Space Commission of citizens and public officials and
(b) a city position of Greenways Coordinator.
2. The Greenways system proposed in the Task Force Report should be adopted and implemented.
3. A natural resources inventory of the city and the proposed Growth Boundary area, including wetlands, waterways, flood plains, forested areas, and large tracts of pasture land, should be conducted.
4. A review of green/open spaces regulations in the Zoning Ordinance and the Subdivision Regulations should address availability, quality and configuration of the open space.
5. The League of Women Voters also supports an ongoing effort to secure green spaces through:
(a) city purchase of land for parks and green spaces with the ultimate goal that no citizen will live more than two miles from a dedicated public open space;
(b) enactment of a zoning regulation that requires developers to provide landscaped open spaces in subdivisions with small lots when housing density reaches a specified number; and
(c) development and use of strategies for the preservation of small vacant lots as green oases in established neighborhoods.
6. The Land Trust of East Alabama, a private, non-profit organization, should be supported by individuals and by municipalities.
LIVABLE NEIGHBORHOODS (May 2001)
1. As Auburn grows, the League of Women Voters of Auburn encourages attention to preserving and increasing the livability of neighborhoods by individual citizens and developers and through city regulations.
2. Developers should be encouraged to address neighborhood livability through such measures as remediation of parking problems, improvement of road design, attention to neighborhood security and to the safety and enjoyment of pedestrians and bicyclists, enhancement of aesthetics, and provision of ample green spaces.
3. The League supports a cautious attempt to allow a mix of small commercial and residential uses in both old and new neighborhoods. Criteria for such small commercial uses could include limitations on size and types of businesses, design standards to accommodate aesthetic concerns and ensure compatibility with the surroundings, safeguards to mitigate possible negative effects such as traffic from disparate uses, and a planning/approval process that includes notification of the neighborhood, negotiations to address concerns, and a means of ensuring that developers adhere to the conditions negotiated.
TRANSPORTATION (May 2001)
To create a more balanced transportation system for the Auburn-Opelika metropolitan area, the League endorses the following:
1. Promotion of public transportation use by a wider variety of residents through:
(a) expansion of LETA’s hours, frequency, overall service and ease of use;
(b) greatly improved public information on LETA’s operating schedules and how to reach LETA; and
(c) a more active role for citizens in the decisions of LETA, Lee Russell Council of Governments, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
2. Promotion of alternatives to use of cars by:
(a) provisions in the early stages of subdivision plans for pedestrian and bicycle mobility. Measure might include paths between neighborhoods, adequate buffers from traffic, street trees, safer intersection design, and ways of reducing speed;
(b) evaluation of existing neighborhoods to improve conditions for walking and bicycling; and
(c) evaluation of retail and commercial centers to improve their safety and convenience for customers who arrive by bus, by bicycle or on foot, as well as by car, with the goal of achieving better design through incentives, guidelines, standards or regulations.
1. The LWV of Auburn supports measures to protect and improve the public schools of Auburn. (Readopted April 1998)
2. There is not an immediate call for magnet and charter schools. The LWV of Auburn does see the future possibility of using magnet schools, particularly at the elementary level, to address the task of assigning students to a particular school location. There is a need to monitor carefully any proposed legislation to permit the creation of charter schools. (April 1999)
LAND USE AND ZONING (April 1998)
1. The LWV of Auburn reaffirms its long-standing support for long-range planning in land use and zoning, including support for the principle that no large area should be rezoned outside of the triennial review.
2. The LWV of Auburn reaffirms its long-standing support for the protection of Lake Ogletree and the Chewacla watershed. In addition it supports protection for others sources of drinking water in the Lee Countythe Saugahatchee watershed and the Halawakee watershed. (Amended April 1999)
3. The LWV of Auburn supports efforts to limit the City’s financial burden for subdivisions built without adequate infrastructure outside the city in areas subject to annexation.
4. The LWV of Auburn affirms its support for the principle that government is responsible for the well-being of the community as a whole in planning decisions.
WATER AND THE ENVIRONMENT (April 1998)
The LWV of Auburn supports measures in Auburn and Lee County to promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest by recognizing the interrelationship of air quality, energy, land use, waste management and water resources.
HUMAN NEEDS (April 1998)
The LWV of Auburn supports programs and policies to prevent or reduce poverty and to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families, especially those living in Auburn and Lee County. We also support the positions of the League of Women Voters of Alabama and the League of Women Voters of the United States.