Sharing the first Big Idea for Aloe Bay
Sharing the first Big Idea for Aloe Bay


In the Aloe Bay Update for this week, we will begin our series that dives into the 5 main principles - or BIG IDEAS as we call them - which are the backbone of the plan. These Big Ideas outline the vision for the Plan and serve as a guide for what happens in the future at Aloe Bay. In essence, at the heart of the plan are the Big Ideas which help guide implementation for the community and town leaders to maintain orientation toward the creation of a successful Town Center. For the purposes of the Aloe Bay Town Center the ‘Master Plan’ provides; vision, concept, framework, illustrations, and even implementation strategies. All of these point back to the Big Ideas within the document from which Town Leadership can use to make informed decisions to develop a Town Center. 
Dauphin Island is a quiet, laid-back, low-scale, funky town for fishing, vacations, and living. When crossing the “bridge to paradise,” one begins to breathe easier. New development shouldn’t do anything to change that. It should maintain a calm environment with minimal traffic. Public spaces and community-owned sites can help keep community feel. The development of Aloe Bay Town Center should have the “fishing village” feel that the community loves. 
Critical to this Big Idea, the water frontage is what makes Aloe Bay unique from all other parts of the island and distinct from other communities. The waterfront is a public edge where people could enjoy views of the water while meeting with friends, watch working waterfront activities, share a meal, and enjoy the company of others. To become that space, while in keeping with the physical and fiscal resiliency discussed last week, the Town Center must be a center of mixed uses and shared activity — places to gather, shop, work, socialize and more. A key component to public spaces is that they feel open, available to all, and an essential distinction of a vibrant mixed-use district is that the whole public space be designed as an ensemble. The buildings should be designed to a human scale and constructed with materials, or have the appearance of materials, that respects the community’s character and remain true to its identity, while also meeting environmental demands.

Caption: The design for Aloe Bay includes amenities recommended through the planning process which are organized in a way that fronts both the water and the street and distributed in a way that creates a classic American Main Street. Buildings along Aloe Bay are interspersed with public spaces for outdoor gathering and access to the water from a boardwalk that runs from Aloe Bay Landing to Lemoyne Drive. The buildings are recommended at reasonable scale which is are at, or below, the current zoning height standards for the Town. 
The Town should leverage their ownership of land to ensure that the Town Center meets the needs and desires of the community before development occurs. The Town Center should be functional and attractive. New buildings and additions to existing buildings should address all public spaces including the street, the raised boardwalk, and the waterfront. Likewise, streets themselves should have certain elements such as travel lanes, on-street parking, street trees, street furnishings (benches, lighting, trash receptacles, etc.), and comfortabl sidewalks. Development standards can be used to ensure that the town center is developed in accordance to the community’s vision.

For more information on Aloe Bay, including videos of the charrette, please visit the Aloe Bay website (
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