Shaping a city

Joseph Brown | The ItemArmon Irones was recently named the new city planner for the city of Huntsville. 

Even as a child, Armon Irones was fascinated with land-use management. 

From humble beginnings in Birmingham, Alabama, Irones maintained curiosity about how elements of a community fit together. Now, as the new Huntsville city planner, he will steer the ship on how Huntsville will look for years to come.

“As a child, I was always fascinated with geography and how people live across the country. But, as I got older, I wondered why some neighborhoods were constructed in certain areas that may have had negative environmental impacts on the community.”

Irones, a graduate of Alabama A&M University, said he’s thrilled about working for Huntsville.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Irones said. “It is a really interesting community. It has a lot of potential with continued growth and new commercial expansion.”

In the 15 years of his career so far, he has had stops in Pasadena, Pearland and the city of Houston, where he helped oversee public land acquisitions and right-of-way procurement.

Irones’ arrival comes in the midst of the Interstate 45 expansion, which is expected to bring more families and commercial industry to the area.

Despite that, he wants to ensure that Huntsville keeps its small-town feel.

“When you’re driving up Interstate 45, Houston really doesn’t end until you get to Huntsville,” Irones noted. “My goal is to ensure that Huntsville has its own identity, to where it is in close proximity to the metropolitan area, but still keeps that small-town feel that the city is known for.”

Huntsville’s limited zoning rules is something that Irones is familiar with, previously serving as the senior planner for the city of Pasadena.

“That’s why I think that I fit perfectly,” he noted. “In Pasadena we didn’t have much zoning, but we had several ordinances that protected land-use development. We have a very similar situation here in Huntsville.”

Irones is replacing former city planner Janet Riley, who announced her retirement last month. 

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