The Historic Neighborhood of Highland Park
The first two phases of the planning process produced a description of existing conditions in Highland Park as well as a neighborhood vision to guide future development.
The community-based vision follows:
In 10-20 years, Highland Park will be a residential neighborhood much as it is today. With:
- A diverse, well maintained and affordable housing stock
- Ample commercial opportunities including shops, restaurants and services in attractive, properly scaled storefronts located along major streets and at major intersections throughout the neighborhood
- Well maintained parks and green space
- Pedestrian and bicycle friendly transportation infrastructure with increased availability of public transit option
- A diverse, active and friendly resident population with a strong sense of community identity
Two planning tools were developed to help implement the neighborhood’s vision: a set of transportation recommendations and a form based overlay district.
A primary goal of the neighborhood plan is to safeguard the neighborhood’s rich pedestrian character by better managing traffic and parking. Some of the proposed strategies detailed in the plan include:
- Maintain existing on-street angled and parallel parking
- Maintain trees and median landscaping, replacing older trees as necessary to ensure a mix of mature and younger trees in the neighborhood
- Improve and repair the sidewalks to the city standard
- Develop a street tree, signage and lighting plan to reinforce neighborhood identity and traffic calming
- Maximize pedestrian safety with signals, signage, pavement markings, planting strips, and lighting
- Encourage the use of bicycles and public transit through the installation of bike racks, designation of additional bike routes, and improvements to transit stops such as shelters and route information
- Evaluate strategies to calm traffic including curb bulk-outs or mini traffic circles
- Evaluate options to better manage parking including share parking arrangements or permitted parking
Form-Based Overlay District:
Much of what makes Highland Park a great neighborhood is best captured by how each of the houses, buildings and streets come together to form enjoyable public space. The purpose of the form-based overlay is to reinforce the neighborhood’s historic character, to the extent possible, by modifying development regulations in the City of Birmingham’s Zoning Ordinance. It is important to emphasize that the proposed overlay will not change a property’s current zoning district, including permitted uses. Rather, when adopted by the Birmingham City Council, the Highland park form-based overlay district will be placed “over” the existing base zoning and modify certain regulatory standard in five important ways.
- Building setbacks: The overlay includes both minimum and maximum front setbacks to ensure the buildings are placed near the street, contributing to the public space and preserving the historic feel of the neighborhood.
- Building heights: Maximum building heights are provided to control the height and scale of new buildings in the neighborhood.
- Building entrances, facades, and roofs: The overlay includes general building form standards requiring building entrances oriented to the street and variation in building facades or walls and roofs to promote high quality public space.
- Parking location and access: Parking and access are more strictly limited, often to the side or rear of buildings, to maintain a pedestrian friendly street environment and historic neighborhood character.
- Landscape and signage: Mandates screening of parking and loading areas and between incompatible uses. Controls the size and style or signs to ensure compatibility with the neighborhood.
Visit the Highland Park Neighborhood Association