In a relatively short meeting this Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council approved a change to citywide zoning regulations that will incentivize the reuse of historic buildings throughout the city in the interest of preserving Birmingham’s historic architectural character.
The change, referred to as an Adaptive Reuse Incentive Overlay (ARI), will create incentives for landowners to reuse Birmingham’s historic buildings rather than demolish them and build new ones in their place.
“The intent of this ARI is to implement the framework plans by facilitating the conversion of older, economically distressed, historically significant buildings to apartments, live-work units or mixed-use developments,” said Tim Gambrel, chief planner for the city of Birmingham. “This will help to reduce vacant space as well as preserve the city’s architectural and cultural past and encourage the development of those types of developments in the city’s commercial and industrial centers and corridors.”
The ordinance will apply to buildings that are at least fifty years old and deemed “significant, either historically or architecturally,” under standards set by the secretary of the interior. Developers will be expected to adhere to certain historic preservation standards so that these buildings’ historic character is preserved.
The council also approved the transfer of $5,000 to the Jones Valley Teaching Farm, a local farm dedicated to providing publicly accessible urban farming education opportunities for poor and needy citizens of Birmingham.
In other news, the council also approved the following:
- Payment to the Alabama Fire College for additional paramedics and EMTs to assist during the upcoming World Games.
- An agreement with Alabama Power to install and maintain electrical facilities to help with the expansion of Birmingham’s new Rapid Transit bus system for the upcoming World Games.