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Framework is a process to define a long-term vision for Tuscaloosa and will set the direction for the City’s growth and development in the coming decades. The process will update both the City’s comprehensive plan and its zoning and land development regulations.

It’s our city, our time.

This is an effort to proactively address the many topics that are important to you. All opinions matter and all participants’ voices will be heard. Your input will help make Tuscaloosa be the best place that it can be to live, work and play.

What is a comprehensive plan?

A comprehensive plan is a strategic guide that expresses the values and aspirations of a community. The broadest public policy document a community can create, it establishes a long-range vision for development, housing, environment, economic development, transportation, community facilities and services, and related topics. The comprehensive plan acts as a guidebook for decision-makers and is not a legally binding document.

Why update the comprehensive plan? Tuscaloosa’s previous plan was drafted in 2009. Since that time the community has experienced many changes, including a global recession, the 2011 tornado and significant population growth. In general, planning represents good stewardship, and there has never been a better time to consider recent events and trends to develop well-supported policies to create the best possible future.

What is a zoning code?

A zoning code is the adopted law of a city that regulates land use and growth and development. It divides the city into different zoning districts and generally governs the purpose, location and size of development in each district. A zoning code also includes provisions for the development proposal review process and for standards regulating parking, signage, building design and resource protection.

Why rewrite the zoning code? Tuscaloosa’s zoning code was last updated in 1972. The ordinance is cumbersome and no longer reflects best practices of modern planning and zoning techniques. The purpose of the rewrite is to address such issues and develop new regulations for the City to reflect the policy direction set forth in the new comprehensive plan.

The Process

The comprehensive plan process concluded in February 2021. Following completion of the comprehensive plan, the zoning code update will take approximately 12 to 15 months. There will be multiple opportunities for community input.

Why should you get involved?

Framework events will be informative and fun and allow members of the community to share ideas.

Be proactive, not reactive.

This process is an opportunity to establish policies that are widely supported and that lead to more predictable outcomes in our community. Don’t wait until the next issue arises to let the City know what’s important to you.

You are the expert.

If you are here, you are responsible – no one knows the community like those who live or work in Tuscaloosa. Whether you are a new or life-long resident, your perspective is vital to the plan’s success. Share your ideas, your input and your feedback to ensure that this plan represents the authentic voice of the community.

Who is involved?

Steering Committee

Process leadership

The steering committee is a diverse group of community members appointed by the City to serve as community advocates for the comprehensive plan, to provide guidance and direction regarding the plan process and substance and to serve as stewards of the plan once it is completed.


Targeted input

Various stakeholder groups will convene to inform specific aspects of the plan. These groups include business leaders, neighborhood associations, real estate professionals and developers, education professionals, students, and young professionals.


Input and feedback

Widespread community participation is vital to Framework’s success. In-person community workshops and this website will offer various for the community to give input throughout the process. The Forum on the Future was held in November 2018. A Framework Open House was held in November 2019.

City Staff


City staff will support and help coordinate the work of all other groups’ local knowledge and expertise.

Elected Officials


The mayor and council will monitor the Framework process and the resulting community plan, recognizing that success should be independent of the City’s elected leadership.


Process leadership, expertise

Planning NEXT will facilitate the process and share experience from other successful communities. Clarion, GMC, Ninigret Partners, Kimley-Horn and TTL will assist Planning NEXT and provide expertise in city codes, housing, economic development, transportation and infrastructure.