Here's an update from Build Mobile regarding the Unified Development Code:
Thank you for engaging with us during the comment period for draft Version 2 of the Unified Development Code! The Build Mobile staff is working hard to prepare draft Version 3, in order for a third informal public comment period. Below are the answers to some important questions about the Unified Development Code drafting process and our timeline. Thank you in advance for your time and interest in this process. We remain committed to open and transparent communication, as we move through the process to modernize our outdated zoning code. Don’t hesitate to respond to this email with questions. It is monitored by staff members, who will respond to you within 24 hours.
Shayla Jones Beaco Executive Director
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
The initiative of modernizing the City's zoning code came out of the extensive public input process for the Map For Mobile, the city's comprehensive plan (adopted in 2015). We received feedback from many groups and citizens that the 1960s version of our code was holding the City back in many ways. In January 2016, the City kicked off the process of developing the Unified Development Code. Since that time, Build Mobile has been in the drafting process, which includes comprehensive informal public input and outreach.
WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE DRAFT VERSION 2 COMMENT PERIOD?
During the Version 2 informal comment period (January 23 – April 8, 2019), we received over 1000 comments on the draft articles and maps. Comments came through our website portal and via written mail. During that time, Build Mobile also attended over 75 meetings with groups and individuals to review the draft document, its changes from Version 1, and provide a tutorial on how to comment. Meetings were both by the request of citizens, and meetings that we arranged to try to reach as many people as possible. As part of the public outreach for draft Version 2, we utilized all outreach resources available, including the city’s main website, multiple City of Mobile newsletters, social media platforms, meetings with neighborhood and non-profit groups, mainstream news coverage via print media such as the Mobile Press-Register, Lagniappe, as well as television such as WKRG, WPMI and WALA. This informal public outreach phase is not required by law; however, it is being utilized to engage as many citizens as possible in the process.
WHERE ARE WE IN THE PROCESS NOW?
On April 8th, the extended informal public comment period for draft Version 2 of the Unified Development Code closed. At that time, we had received over 1000 comments on the draft Version 2 document and zoning map since its release for comment on January 23rd. After the comment period closed on April 8th, Build Mobile staff (planners, attorneys, historic preservation staff, etc.) began spending numerous days per week reviewing comments and making changes to prepare draft Version 3. This process is expected to take several months, given the extensive amount of constructive input that we received from citizens. Please note that we initially estimated that draft Version 3 would be ready by May 31st, but the sheer volume and nature of the comments has required us to revisit our release date. Our goal is to have draft Version 3 available by the end of the summer. Included in the draft Version 3 release will be a variety of materials to help citizens understand the changes in the new draft, as well as why the changes were made. We will continue to communicate with citizens on the exact date of release as we move towards completion of our review and edits. There will be a third informal comment period associated with draft Version 3.
CAN I STILL READ DRAFT VERSION 2?
Yes, draft Version 2 is still available on our website (mapformobile.org/udc). Note that articles and maps that are marked as a 'draft' on our website have not been adopted by the Planning Commission or City Council, and no longer contain valid information as significant changes are being made as part of draft Version 3.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE DRAFT VERSION 3 COMMENT PERIOD ENDS?
After the informal comment period for Version 3 and the subsequent edit period, draft Version 4 will be released. At that time, the formal hearing and adoption process begins. Regarding the adoption of the new zoning code, Alabama state law requires at least two public hearings - one with the Planning Commission and one with the City Council. State law requires notice of the Planning Commission and City Council public hearing via a legal ad in a local newspaper of general circulation, and we will abide by state law. Further, we will use all resources outlined above to inform the community about opportunities to participate in the public hearing(s).
WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
We remain committed to open and transparent communication, as we move through this process. If you have questions about the review process, upcoming comment periods or any other related question, please contact us by replying to this email or sending a new message to our email. A Build Mobile staff member will respond within 24 hours.