More BIG Ideas for Aloe Bay
More BIG Ideas for Aloe Bay
Aloe Bay Community Meeting
September 16 at 5:30 p.m.
We are excited to announce the plan for Aloe Bay is nearly complete, and that there will be a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. on September 16 to share information on the plans! Similar to the charrette earlier this year, this community meeting will be held virtually due to concerns regarding recent COVID-19 surges in the region and the risks associated with holding in-person meetings.

The Draft Aloe Bay Town Center Master Plan has been posted to the project website. To view the draft plan, visit the Aloe Bay website ( or click on the image of the draft plan below.


In the Aloe Bay update for this week we are going to discuss the final two BIG IDEAS from the Town Center Master Plan. As a reminder, these BIG IDEAS outline the vision for the plan which serves as a guide to the future of the Town Center area. These next points are tied together through the premise that as the Town Center develops it should serve the local community by addressing environmental resiliency and access to nature, and balance all the elements essential to a thriving Town Center with the things that make Dauphin Island special. In essence, at the heart of the plan are these BIG IDEAS which help guide implementation for the community and town leaders to maintain orientation toward the creation of a successful Town Center. For previous Aloe Bay updates on the other BIG IDEAS, please the Aloe Bay website  (
The plan should focus on the environment as well as the economy by increasing access to nature and building sustainably. Access to nature can be provided by boardwalks along the northern estuaries, the De Soto waterfront, and kayak/blue way trails. This can be done in conjunction with Dauphin Island Sea Lab, The Estuarium, and government research of coastal ecology and natural environment. This should include an eco-tourism center to promote the ecology and environment of the regional through sustainable tourism. There should be protection for oystering activities near Aloe Bay because they provide economic benefits as well as ecological benefits (filtering and cleaning water). The town center should be built for storms and turbulent seas. This means there should be ‘green infrastructure’ to address stormwater and flooding.
Essential to the planning team through the process was the idea that ecology and natural environment should be respected for new developments. Integrated into the plan are recommendations for building techniques such as green infrastructure, low environmental impact designs, and considerations for sea level rise. These recommendations should be applied primarily during construction and implementation to mitigate the negative influences on the natural environment. By creating a walkable, bikable, and multimodal friendly place, and lowering parking demands the Town Center could reduce the need for automobile traffic and excessively large parking areas, which meets resiliency goals by reducing the spatial demand of cars and carbon emissions. Green infrastructure should be an integral part of the overall stormwater management system in Aloe Bay due to its ability to filter, clean, and absorb stormwater runoff.  Green infrastructure can also be designed as an amenity with additional benefits for wildlife, recreation, and interaction with nature. 
Throughout the planning process we heard the community desire to increase access to the natural environment. The waterfront can support a variety of different recreational uses, but access and public space near the waterfront is currently limited. Many residents voiced the desire for more public spaces such as docks for fishing, nature trails, and boardwalks. The plan for those opportunities are not only specifically incorporated into the Town Center, but the plan also supports the other on-going efforts for improving ecologically sensitive access around Aloe Bay.
Coastal ecology is one of the most important things to consider regarding Aloe Bay future developments. It is crucial to protect both flora, and fauna. The landscape and wildlife could be impacted by a lack of knowledge on the native ecology of the area. It is important to educate both residents and visitors on how to take good care of their environmental surroundings. 

The rendering above is looking west at the town center 'green street' along De Soto Avenue. Green infrastructure such as permeable paving , bioretention and infiltration areas are important considerations to manage stormwater. Buildings are also elevated to a height to mitigate negative impacts of storm influences and sea level rise scenarios.
The main concern the planning team heard during the charrette was to keep the small town charm and waterfront authentic. This is a close-knit community that wants to see new opportunities for culture, community, commerce, and nature balance. No one Big Idea should dominate. Aloe Bay should continue to be relaxed even as it becomes a lively place with multiple destinations. Access to nature and the environment should be kept in mind with all decisions. The public wants to see more art, culture and creativity. Aloe Bay should be a place that brings the community together to celebrate its natural beauty.
The culmination of the Aloe Bay Master Plan is not the illustrative plan or illustrations, but the action that should take place toward implementation of the plan in supporting the Big Ideas. There is nothing like the feeling of a small town, and what makes Aloe Bay a charming place is the sense of place that exists. New developments would not take away from that, but rather encourage spaces and activities to steward this trait. The new Community Center will benefit from an adjacent location to the Town Center. New public access to the water provide unique perspectives on the local ecology and environment. Aloe Bay will become the place to run into your neighbor and friends while walking along the boardwalk, and build new friendships at the restaurants and shops. Space for local shops will add to the balanced authentic community that Aloe Bay seeks to include. Providing areas for local commerce will ensure the place stays a close knit community, while enhancing the local economy. From uses ranging from working waterfront activities to leisurely retail boutiques, Aloe Bay will offer a variety of commercial options for everyone. The 'commerce of choice' will help support Town revenue streams which will help fund cultural events and spaces, as well as infrastructure improvements to protect the natural environment of the Bay. To ensure these opportunities are manifested in the future, the seeds of the plan must be carefully sowed through implementation. The final chapter of the Aloe Bay Master Plan outlines eight important considerations for town leadership for implementation to help balance the culture, community, commerce, and nature of Aloe Bay. 
For more information on Aloe Bay, including videos of the charrette, please visit the Aloe Bay website(
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