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Bainbridge Georgia Comprehensive Plan 2007 - Draft

Community Assessment And Issues & Opportunities

Existing Goals and Policies - 1992 Comp Plan

Bainbridge Georgia Comprehensive Plan 2007 - Draft
I. Consistency with Quality Community Objectives
II. Analysis of Areas Requiring Special Attention
III. Identification of Issues and Opportunities

I. Consistency with Quality Community Objectives

Evaluate the community’s current policies, activities, and development patterns for consistency with the Quality Community Objectives (see section 110-12-1-.06(3) of the Local Planning Requirements). An assessment tool useful for this purpose is provided on the Department’s website. Use this analysis to identify issues and opportunities for adapting local activities, development patterns and implementation practices to the Quality Community Objectives applicable to your community.

Development Patterns

A. Traditional Neighborhoods:

Traditional neighborhood development patterns should be encouraged, including use of more human scale development, compact development mixing of uses within easy walking distance of one another, and facilitating pedestrian activity.

Assessment:
  • The City adopted a new Zoning Ordinance on May 17, 2005.
  • The City’s Zoning Ordinance allows residential uses in many of the commercial zoning districts to encourage mixed-uses, including live-work units.
  • The City’s Planned Unit Development District allows up to 50% non-residential uses to encourage mixed-use developments.
  • The City’s Central Business Zoning District incorporates Build-To lines in lieu of front setbacks, ensuring that additions and redeveloped uses continue with the human scale development and existing traditional development patterns of this district.
  • Bainbridge has an established design review process in its historic district which serves to protect existing traditional neighborhoods.
Recommendations:
  • The City’s new Zoning Ordinance adequately addresses traditional neighborhood development and pedestrian activity. Continue to monitor new development under this new ordinance and amend as necessary.
B. Infill Development:

Communities should maximize the use of existing infrastructure and minimize the conversion of undeveloped land at the urban periphery by encouraging development or redevelopment of sites closer to the downtown or traditional urban core of the community.

Assessment:
  • The City’s new Zoning Ordinance allows smaller lot sizes and has created numerous opportunities for infill development by allowing the re-subdividing lots of record.
  • The City provides a list of buildings for sale or lease prime for redevelopment in the downtown area on the Main Street website.
  • The City provides a listing of buildings that are available for redevelopment, which are posted on the City’s Main Street website, however there is no listing of vacant sites that are available for redevelopment or infill development.
  • The City is not actively working to promote brownfield or greyfield development.
Recommendations:
  • The City should conduct an inventory of vacant infill sites to be added to the Main Street website and also to the DCA Downtown Development/Redevelopment Opportunities in GA webpage, which is to be updated in the near future.
  • The City should conduct an assessment of potential Brownfield and Greyfield sites and, if applicable, seek promotion of these sites to potential developers or for public/private initiatives.

Greyfield is a term used to describe undervalued or underutilized real estate assets that hold the potential, through strategic redevelopment, to be transformed into prime investments.
Brownfield means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

C. Sense of Place:

Traditional downtown areas should be maintained as the focal point of the community or, for newer areas where this is not possible, the development of activity centers that serve as community focal points should be encouraged. These community focal points should be attractive, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly places where people choose to gather for shopping, dining, socializing, and entertainment.

Assessment:
  • The City participates in the Main Street Cities program under the Department of Community Affairs.
  • There is an existing Bainbridge Main Street website that promotes downtown.
  • The City recently completed a Waterfront Connectivity Master Plan to create a real sense of place for Bainbridge. This master plan optimizes connectivity between the downtown Central Business District and the Flint River basin properties (Cheney Griffin Park, Bypass Park, Access Park, and Boat Basin Park) and provides expanded recreation opportunities and related economic growth to the City.
Recommendations:
  • Continue to promote the downtown area through the Main Street Program and Main Street website.
  • Promote the Waterfront Connectivity Master Plan and encourage public/private partnerships for development, as well as City/County/State agency partnership were applicable.
D. Transportation Alternatives:

Alternatives to transportation by automobile, including mass transit, bicycle routes and pedestrian facilities, should be made available in each community. Greater use of alternate transportation should be encouraged.

Assessment:
  • The Waterfront Connectivity Master Plan promotes pedestrian connections from the downtown area to the river basin properties.
  • The Land Subdivision and Development Regulations require sidewalks under certain conditions.
  • Sidewalks are required in all new developments under certain conditions.
  • The City’s current Community Facilities Element, Policy Objective 4.9 refers to providing sidewalks at all City school facilities.
Recommendations:
  • Continue to follow through with and promote the Waterfront Connectivity Master Plan to enhance sidewalk and pedestrian connectivity in the specified Master Plan areas.
  • Efforts should be made to ensure or enhance the walkability of sidewalks outside of the Master Plan area and propose new sidewalks, where needed.
  • The City should evaluate the existing sidewalks to all City school facilities and encourage new sidewalks or sidewalk improvements where needed to promote walking and biking to school as a common and safe option.
E. Regional Identity:

Each region should promote and preserve a regional “identity”, or regional sense of place, defined in terms of traditional architecture, common economic linkages that bind the region together, or other shared characteristics.

Assessment:
  • The City provides a regional identity with the areas along the Flint River, as well as Willis Park, and the historic home of the Heritage Tour.
  • Promotion of tourism based on the unique characteristics of these areas is limited.
  • A common economic link that binds the region together is The Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County, which was established to ensure a coordinated effort to attract desirable businesses to the Bainbridge and the Decatur County area. The Development Authority, through a Board of Directors, supplies perspective businesses with the information necessary to make informed decisions on locating their business to the area through a website and other promotions.
  • Another identity to this region, which promotes economic growth is the Georgia Ports Authority inland barge terminal located in the City, which the Development Authority promotes. This serves a need to businesses that require shipping by barge for finished products and or raw materials.
  • The City is a member of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s regional tourism partnership.
Recommendations:
  • The City should consider a gateway entry or entries into the City for regional identity.

Resource Conservation

A. Heritage Preservation:

The traditional character of the community should be maintained through preserving and revitalizing historic areas of the community, encouraging new development that is compatible with the traditional features of the community, and protecting other scenic or natural features that are important to defining the community’s character.

Assessment:
  • The City established a local Historic District on January 17, 2006. Included in this boundary is a National Historic District. The local district encompasses the downtown area, an existing National Historic District boundary, and the surrounding residential neighborhoods to the downtown area.
  • The City established a Historic Preservation Commission, which is responsible for protecting the historic district and guiding changes within its boundary.
  • A Design Review procedure is in place for any changes within the Historic District.
  • The City participates in the Main Street Cities program under the Department of Community Affairs.
  • There are a number of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The properties include: the Bainbridge Commercial Historic District, the Bainbridge Residential Historic District, the McKenzie-Reynolds Home, the Chason-Milier Home, and the First United Methodist Church.
Recommendations:
  • The Heritage Tour of Bainbridge should be better promoted to generate interest in local history and historic preservation.
  • Additional sites could be considered for placement in the National Register of Historic Places.
B. Open Space Preservation:

New development should be designed to minimize the amount of land consumed, and open space should be set aside from development for use as public parks or other forms of conservation.

Assessment:
  • The City’s Zoning Ordinance provides minimum percentages for open space in some zoning districts, as well as minimum buffers.
  • The City allows Conservation Subdivisions in their Land Subdivision and Land Development Regulations. These regulations minimize the environmental impacts of new development on critical resources and allows more compact development to protect and preserve environmental resources.
  • The City currently does not have a Level of Service standard established for parks.
Recommendations:
  • The City should continue to encourage Conservation Subdivisions for new development, where applicable.
  • The City should consider establishing a Level of Service standard for parks and recreational needs as growth occurs and incorporate this into their Comprehensive Plan Community Facilities Element.
C. Environmental Protection:

Environmentally sensitive areas should be protected from negative impacts of development, especially when they are important for maintaining traditional character or quality of life of the community or region. Whenever possible, the natural terrain, drainage, and vegetation of the area should be preserved.

Assessment:
  • The City has adopted Chapter 391-3-16 Rules for Environmental Planning Criteria for wetlands protection, in addition to the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. E.P.A. regulations.
  • The existing Conservation Subdivision regulations in the City’s Land Subdivision and Land Development Regulations provide protection of environmentally sensitive areas.
  • The City has a tree protection ordinance for new development and an active tree planting campaign.
  • The City has protections in place for water resources and drainage.
Recommendations:
  • Continue to enforce existing environmental regulations.

Social and Economic Development

A. Growth Preparedness:

Each community should identify and put in place the prerequisites for the type of growth it seeks to achieve. These may include housing and infrastructure (roads, water, sewer and telecommunications) to support new growth, appropriate training of the workforce, ordinances and regulations to manage growth as desired, or leadership capable of responding to growth opportunities and managing new growth when it occurs.

Assessment:
  • City employees, elected officials and board members often attend Georgia Municipal Association training.
  • The City provides individual training on planning and zoning matters.
Recommendations:
  • Periodically review the Zoning Ordinances and Land Subdivision and Land Development Regulations to see if these regulations continue to meet the needs of the City as it grows.
  • Staff and elected officials should continue attending continuing education courses offered by the Georgia Municipal Association and other organizations to stay abreast of current economic development issues.
B. Appropriate Businesses:

The businesses and industries are encouraged to develop or expand in a community should be suitable for the community in terms of job skills required, long-term sustainability, linkages to other economic activities in the region, impact on the resources of the area, and future prospects for expansion and creation of higher skill job opportunities.

Assessment:
  • The Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County supplies perspective businesses with the information necessary to make informed decisions on locating their business to the area through a website and other promotions.
  • The Georgia Ports Authority inland barge terminal located in the City, which the Development Authority promotes, serves a need to businesses that require shipping by barge for finished products and or raw materials.
  • The Commodore Industrial Park, located in the City, is promoted through the Development Authority to attract appropriate businesses.
  • Bainbridge and Decatur County offer several different levels of tax incentives for businesses that are considering locating to the area.
Recommendations:
  • Continue to promote appropriate business through the Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County and Chamber of Commerce.
C. Employment Options:

A range of job types should be provided in each community to meet the diverse needs of the local workforce.

Assessment:
  • A range of businesses exist within the City – retail, office, industrial, institutional, etc. to provide a range of job types.
  • The Georgia Department of Labor’s Job Information System provides a listing of job openings for the City of Bainbridge.
  • The City’s website provides an Employment opportunities listing.
Recommendations:
  • Consider posting employment opportunities on the Chamber of Commerce website.
D. Housing Choices:

A range of housing size, cost, and density should be provided in each community to make it possible for all who work in the community to also live in the community (thereby reducing commuting distances), to promote a mixture of income and age groups in each community, and to provide a range of housing choice to meet market needs.

Assessment:
  • The City’s Zoning Ordinance allows residential uses in many of the commercial zoning districts to encourage mixed-uses and neo-traditional uses for a range of housing types.
  • The City’s new Zoning Ordinance allows smaller lot sizes and has created numerous opportunities for infill development by allowing the re-subdividing lots of record.
  • There is adequate infrastructure in the City for the construction of additional multi-family housing units.
  • Generally, there is a lack of housing for low to moderate income families within the City.
Recommendations:
  • An overall housing strategy with an emphasis on low to moderate income housing should be pursued.
  • Consideration should be given to inclusionary housing ordinances in the future that require a given share of new construction be affordable to people with low to moderate incomes.
E. Educational Opportunities:

Educational and training opportunities should be readily available in each community – to permit community residents to improve their job skills, adapt to technological advances, or to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions.

Assessment:
  • The Bainbridge College provides opportunities for higher education locally.
  • The Georgia Department of Labor Bainbridge Career Center offers a wide range of services to both job seekers and employers, including training and education information and referral.
Recommendations:
  • Recruitment of businesses that could hire local graduates should be expanded.

Governmental Relations

A. Regional Solutions and Cooperation:

Regional solutions to needs shared by more than one local jurisdiction are preferable to separate local approaches, particularly where this will result in greater efficiency and less cost to the taxpayer. Regional cooperation should be encouraged in setting priorities, identifying shared needs, and finding collaborative solutions, particularly where it is critical to success of a venture, such as protection of shared natural resources or development of a transportation network.

Assessment:
  • The City is generally satisfied with the Service Delivery Strategy (SDS), which incorporates shared services within the County. The SDS is currently being updated by the Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center, under the current State deadline for the update.
  • There is a regionally administered ride-sharing program for residents of Decatur County, which serves the residents of the City.
  • There is limited interaction with the other jurisdictions in the County.
Recommendations:
  • Bainbridge and Decatur County should strive to include Attapulgus, Climax and Brinson in their interactions, as appropriate.
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