In July of this year, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association announced the formation of a Task Force to guide the creation of a transportation plan for Virginia-Highland. This plan contemplated combining public input and review of existing factors with professional planning guidance to create an effective set of goals based on an overall vision. We asked for volunteers; the number of citizens who responded represented an impressive cross-section of VaHi residents.
As we tried to define the scope of such a plan, many closely related topics emerged that are fundamental to the community’s future, though not directly related to transportation. In order to make the most efficient use of the feedback processes and resources needed for any such public effort, it became clear to the Board that it makes more sense to broaden the planning scope beyond transportation to key topics like open space, urban design characteristics, historic resources, public services, demographic issues, development variables, environmental challenges, and educational concerns. The result will be a Master Plan for Virginia-Highland.
The advantages of a formal master plan are considerable. One is obvious: it’s a formal chance for citizens to examine alternatives and create goals in the context of existing development plans, policy and research. Visions that are formed absent such contexts have very limited chances of being implemented. Additionally, most governments – including the City of Atlanta – are far more likely to approve and fund projects that are broadly consistent with their own approaches and have been formally adopted through a recognized master plan process. Once just a very good idea, community-based master plans are now a practical necessity in large urban areas. Neighborhoods that have such plans are far better situated than those that do not.
Our neighbors in Poncey-Highland and Candler Park have recently completed master plans; they may be viewed at http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=767 and http://www.candlerparkmasterplan.com, respectively.
The timeline and method for creating this plan is approximately 8 to 12 months, with public engagement and meetings throughout the process. The process will be led by our longtime planning consultant and partner, Market +Main, under the guidance of Aaron Fortner, who played such a key role in the adoption of the Neighborhood Commercial Zoning along North Highland Avenue.
Market + Main will facilitate a variety of focus groups on broad topics such as:
- Neighborhood businesses and market conditions
- School site analysis and planning
- Historic preservation, zoning, and land use
- Parks, green space, and environmental resources
- Traffic and transportation
There will be many opportunities to contribute to this effort, and we would like to hear from you. Please keep an eye out for announcements throughout the fall season for public engagement, both in-person and online. Throughout the process, we will be compiling information on this website: http://www.vahimasterplan.org/. While no requirement other than residency is needed to be part of this process, you can let us know if you are particularly interested in serving on a focus group by providing this form to Jenifer Keenan at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 9.
- Name, address, and time as VaHi resident or business owner
- Why are you interested in serving on the Focus Group?
- What expertise/experience do you have in the area that will be covered by the Focus Group?
- Focus Group (choose one): 1) Neighborhood Businesses 2) Schools 3) Historic Preservation, Zoning, & Land Use 4) Parks, Green Space, & Environmental Resources, 5) Traffic and Transportation