January 2021 Virtual Membership Breakfast
PEP hosted our Virtual Membership Breakfast on January 21, 2021. Shayla Beaco, Executive Director at Build Mobile, was our featured speaker. Shayla discussed the final draft of the City of Mobile’s Unified Development Code (UDC). As the city begins the adoption process of a new zoning code, Mrs. Beaco explained the changes in the UDC, emphasizing the environmental protections included in the plan, as well as changes to encourage economic development.
The new draft zoning code overhaul, known as the Unified Development Code (UDC). The current code was last developed in the 1960s so the primary goals of this new comprehensive plan is to offer a more modernized approach to land use regulation and enhance our community. The UDC is a form-based code to embrace the fabric of our unique community, help Mobile strengthen neighborhoods, remain economically competitive, and create great places and neighborhoods for our citizens.
Build Mobile has received feedback and input of their draft articles during more 200 small groups meetings and reviewed comments collected from more than 600 citizens. Alabama state law requires at least two public hearings for adoption – one with the Planning Commission and one with the City Council. The final draft of the UDC was formally presented to the Planning Commission last month. The first public hearing to consider adoption of the UDC will be February 25, 2021, at 2 p.m. The deadline for submitting comments and registering to speak during the hearing is Friday, February 19, 2021 at noon.
If and when Build Mobile receives a vote of approval from the Planning Commission, a final draft will be presented to the City Council for adoption and a second public hearing will be announced. The draft UDC articles, a summary of changes, and supporting information are available at MapforMobile.org.
What is in the UDC?
The city’s existing zoning map and district names will be retained to avoid any confusion and improve consistency between other adopted plans and ordinances. Commercial warehouse and maritime zoning classifications have been retained but are not mapped. The UDC will continue to reflect existing development patterns and the community identity that “makes Mobile…Mobile.”. It also offers flexible standards, allowing many options for compliance and when requirements are met by developers, the approval does not require a public hearing which should reduce time and costs for developers. Some zoning districts now have two versions, or subdistricts, either ‘Suburban’ or ‘Urban.’ Developers for new multi-family, commercial, maritime and mixed-use development will be required to pick at least one building design feature from a menu divided into four categories: site frontage, height, wall, and architectural feature.
What is New to the UDC?
Tree protection and preservation are currently included in the city zoning process but will be moved to a new chapter of the city code. The Mobile Tree Commission and Urban Forestry’s requirements and duties will not be outlined in a new ordinance. A public hearing to create the Tree Protection requirements will be held by the City Council in February.
Conservation Subdivisions provide protections for environmentally sensitive areas by allowing clustering of development outside of environmentally sensitive areas to protect vital natural resources. Development standards address improvements required on the property and where they are located. A public forum is required for re-zonings, conditional use permits and other applications to create a dialog between the applicant and the neighborhood regarding an application.
How to Give Feedback
You can comment on the UDC articles or register to speak at the public hearings by visiting MapforMobile.org.
You can watch our virtual meeting and hear all of Shayla’s comments and view her presentation at this link on the PEP YouTube channel.