IMPORTANT ZONING MEETING! Jan. 23rd, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Gov't Plaza Multipurpose Room. FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE YEAR-LONG REVISION OF MOBILE'S ZONING CODE!
THIS IS THE FIRST REWRITE SINCE THE 1960'S SO THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MEETING FOR OUR CITY AND FOR ALL OF US IN MIDTOWN/DOWNTOWN AND HISTORIC AREAS!
The Leinkauf HD and the Government Street Collaborative requested the meeting with the City Planning Dept. last year. This may be the only chance we have to discuss
this important Ordinance face to face with city representatives, who have committed to a Q&A segment after an overview of the draft.
The new zoning ordinance draft is due to be released about January 21-22, 2019. While
Jan. 23rd is the community resident meeting, you can expect, probably on Jan. 22nd, a meeting with the Mayor's appointed Technical Advisory Committee, which the public may attend but may not participate in. Watch for announcements of that meeting, which can serve as a good preview before the community meeting on Jan. 23rd.
Disclaimer: The information here is not provided by nor sanctioned by the City of Mobile--with the exception of the meeting announcement--or by any neighborhood organization. It has been developed by midtown and downtown area neighbors who have committed personal time to following the zoning revision, and in conjunction with informal discussions with others and attendance at roll-out meetings in 2018. It is presented as a courtesy, but you are encouraged to attend the meeting and draw your own conclusion
While the general public has not yet seen the text of the official first draft, we tracked the formulation stages last year and can assume the following key points, (not all-inclusive), which we hope we can confirm on January 23rd:
1. The old code was one based almost solely on "use" restrictions, meaning a category of uses was assigned to a parcel and any operatonal use fitting in that category was allowed. There were some minimal site plan requirements as (parking spaces, curb cuts, landscaping, dumpster placement, traffic flow, etc.)
2. The new code was presented last year as a "hybrid" code in which the major restrictions are for newer, more extensive design standards, with fewer or more minimal restrictions related to "uses."
3. We were told last year that the Mobile Hist. Devel. Commission would continue to function in exactly the same way it currently does for historic properties and districts. It is essential that we insure this and perhaps even demand strengthened standards under the MHDC umbrella.
4. A pre-development meeting, we are told, will be required for new projects, in which developers will meet with sanctioned resident groups to present a project and receive resident input. Agreements on either side are not legally binding-- it is our understanding at this phase. This is a good addition, but see below.
5. A cursory assessment of this new ordinance leads us to believe that it is crucial that the new Code contain, clearly and in writing, both the extent of and the procedure for adding operational or use restrictions/criteria specific to the proposal to insure a project is appropriate for a neighborhood, as defined by:
contributing to quality of surrounding residential life,
protecting historic value and residential investments
preserving or improving the character and atmosphere of a neighborhood
6. It seems reasonable to fold these issues and procedures into the pre-development stage & meeting, provided the code be written so that these agreements are committed to writing, submitted to the city, and carry the weight of Code rather than simply a "gentleman's agreement" (as we think is the current case, though we are not sure.)
Please attend the meeting. The Ordinance will be posted to the Build Mobile/Planning website for a public input period in which citizens and groups may submit input in writing. That will be an important second stage of this process.