Frequently asked questions about the zoning overhaul.
1. What is the Map for Mobile Zoning Ordinance Update?
Map for Mobile is the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Zoning Ordinance Update (often referred to as Map for Mobile Phase 2) helps implement the Comprehensive Plan by bringing the City’s outdated land development regulations and zoning code up-to- date.
2. What are the City’s land development regulations? What is the zoning code?
The land development regulations are the rules that guide development. They include requirements for items such as how buildings are situated on a site and how new subdivisions are designed. The land development regulations include minimum setbacks, the height of buildings, the design of roads, or the amount of open space required on a lot or in a new community. The zoning code controls how land is used. There are many different types of zones like Commercial, Single-Family Residential and Multi-Family Residential.
3. Are there opportunities for public involvement?
The first round of Zoning Ordinance Update Open Houses was held in November 2016. Another round was held on April 6, 2017. These interactive sessions allowed members of the community to develop a deeper understanding of how Mobile grows and how the regulations guide that growth. Additional public comment on the draft regulations will be collected and evaluated as each portion of the code is drafted.
4. What are some of the changes that can be expected?
The Zoning Ordinance is in some ways at odds with the City’s current goals of Map for Mobile. Updates may incorporate form-based zoning principles, allowance for a greater mix of uses, new sign regulations, green building systems, and updated permitting processes for development projects. The effort seeks to better coordinate the development review process by removing inconsistencies and eliminating outdated policies.
5. How will this affect me?
Improving Mobile’s zoning ordinance helps keep the City competitive when it comes to attracting new investment and retaining businesses. Improvements help to solve problems that residents and business owners have discovered in the existing regulations and code. If you do not intend to significantly improve your property, the zoning ordinance revisions will not affect you. The updated zoning regulations come into effect when you want to make an improvement that would require a development application.
6. Who is involved in the Zoning Ordinance Update?
The update is being directed by City of Mobile staff including the Mayor’s Office, Engineering, Community and Housing Development, Parks & Recreation, Public Works, Planning and Development, Planning, and Urban Forestry. The adoption process involves City Council, and other boards and committees appointed by the Council.
7. What is Map for Mobile?
Map for Mobile is the name we are giving to the first comprehensive planning process for the City of Mobile to be conducted in over 20 years. It is an intense ten-month process to develop a long-range plan that will build off of other recent planning for the city and the region. Map for Mobile will not only fulfill the state requirement for a comprehensive plan, but it will serve to identify core critical needs for Mobile, shaping the long-term vision of the community and serving as a guide for future physical development.
While there have been several plans produced in recent years, they are limited in their geographic scope. This updated plan will look at the entire City of Mobile and will incorporate the information that has been gathered through previous smaller-scale planning initiatives.
Map for Mobile includes action plan focused on both the short term and the long term.
8. Where can I read the Plan?
You can view the plan on this website or read a print version at these locations:
- All Mobile Public Library branches
- All City recreation centers
- Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
- Mobile Minority Business Development Agency Business Center
- Connie Hudson Mobile Regional Senior Community Center
- Via Health, Fitness & Enrichment Center
- WAVE at GM&O
- South Alabama Regional Planning Commission
- Clinton L. Johnson Economic Development Center
- University of South Alabama Student Center
- The Bishop State Community College’s Main Campus, Carver Campus, and Central Campus
- Mobile County Health Department
- Downtown Mobile Alliance
- Spring Hill College
9. What is the funding mechanism for implementing the plan?
Some of the Plan implementation steps may be code or ordinance changes that will require City staff time. Other funding streams will be identified along the way including public/private partnerships.