The Neighborhood Planning Toolkit

The City of Mobile has prepared a set of resources to help community groups pro-actively plan for and improve their neighborhoods. The Neighborhood Planning Toolkit aims to create a consistent and equitable process for the City to better understand each neighborhoods’ unique vision, needs and priorities; and enable neighborhoods to self-organize and take an active role in their futures.

What is a neighborhood plan?

A neighborhood plan is a tool to make your neighborhood the best place it can be. It is a document that outlines a community’s vision, values and priorities within an area of the city. It represents all the groups that contribute to the neighborhood. It can help ensure that things you treasure are maintained and direct changes you would like to see in your area.

By preparing a plan, your neighborhood will:

  • Identify and prioritize projects that would improve the community and understand how those projects can be implemented.
  • Request that appropriate priority projects are considered for funding in the City’s Capital Improvements Plan
  • Propose changes to City policies affecting your area, such as zoning of specific properties, or design guidelines
  • Become eligible for special City funding or other private sector or government grants

Start here to improve your neighborhood

There are several ways to use the neighborhood planning toolkit. Select an option below to find the most relevant information to create a plan, engage the community, or undertaking a neighborhood project.

Create a plan

Have your neighborhood needs and priorities recognized by the City.

Engage the Community

Build support for getting things done in your neighborhood.

Undertake a project

Implement a project or program, or address a specific issue in your neighborhood.

Create a Plan

Create a plan
Is your neighborhood represented by an established organization? *

Engage the Community

Engage the community

Engaging the community is an important part of undertaking a project or creating a neighborhood plan.

The Neighborhood Engagement Handbook outlines steps, describes meeting formats, and provides tips to successfully engage your neighbors.

Undertake a Project

Undertake a project
Is the project in a City-approved neighborhood plan? *
Can you demonstrate community support? *

Neighborhood Planning Handbook

Describes the purpose of neighborhood planning, and outlines the process for establishing a neighborhood plan.

Neighborhood Engagement Handbook

Provides guidance for engaging your community to create a plan, implement a project, or other purposes.

Neighborhood Initiative Handbook

Provides guidance and resources for implementing various types of projects or initiatives within your neighborhood.

1. Can our neighborhood undertake a project without a neighborhood plan?
Yes. There are many types of projects you can undertake on your own property without a neighborhood plan, though some permanent physical projects may require a building permit or zoning approval. If your project would involve a change within City property, public streets, or easements, or if it could have an impact on your neighbors, you will need to speak with the City Planning Department. The City’s Neighborhood Navigator may request that you submit an application, which will register your project and help avoid potential short-term and long-term conflicts. You should contact the City if you are unsure whether your project would require a permit or other approval.

2. Who can create a neighborhood plan?
The first step in creating a neighborhood plan is to become registered as a Neighborhood Planning Group (NPG). If your neighborhood already has a recognized community group it can serve as the NPG. These groups include Citizen Action Groups (CAGs), Homeowners Associations, Redevelopment Corporations, etc. If your neighborhood does not have an organized community group, you may form a new Neighborhood Planning Group by following three simple steps which are outlined in the Neighborhood Planning Handbook Guide. Any group wanting to create a plan must first contact the City’s Planning Department to make sure they are registered as a NPG and to initiate the planning process.

3. How do I work with my neighbors to create a plan?
Each neighborhood wishing to create a plan will be required to conduct community engagement and use the ideas, feedback and information gathered from the community as input to guide the plan’s recommendations. The steps for creating a plan along with the supporting templates can be accessed in the Neighborhood Planning Handbook. Tips for conducting required community engagement can be found in the Neighborhood Engagement Handbook.

4. What if my neighborhood already has a plan?
If your neighborhood has completed a plan in the last five years then it may be able to be approved as written, however all plans must include a vision statement, value statements, list of priority needs or opportunities and corresponding actions. If your plan does not contain the required elements then you must update your plan in order for it to be approved as an official neighborhood plan and be recognized by the City.

5. What is the City’s role in neighborhood planning?
While the City doesn’t have the resources to create focused plans for all Mobile neighborhoods, it is committed to providing support and resources to help neighborhoods along the way. You will coordinate with a Neighborhood Navigator to act as a liaison for the process. They will provide you with support such as providing relevant existing plans and studies, connect you with appropriate City departments, and consultation and review as you draft your plan.

6. What can I expect from the City if my neighborhood undertakes a planning process?
If you follow the recommendations in the Neighborhood Planning Toolkit and have your plan approved by the City, then your neighborhood is in the best position as the City decides where to invest capital improvement funding and other resources. For example, if the City is deciding which sidewalks, city-wide, are going to be repaired or replaced and your neighborhood has indicated that better sidewalks are a high priority need, then funding can be better aligned with the need.

One of the policy directives in the Map for Mobile is to conduct more focused planning and to provide citizens, groups and organizations with a variety of community planning resources. The Neighborhood Toolkit is the result of this policy directive.

Contact the City’s Neighborhood Navigator

For all questions regarding neighborhood planning and the information on this page, please contact planning@cityofmobile.org or submit the form below.

Contact Neighborhood Navigator