The Planning and Zoning Commission will discuss and vote to set dates for special public hearings regarding the adoption process for the Framework Comprehensive Plan at their January 22, 2020 meeting. An updated draft plan document will be available online prior to the first special public hearing.
View the draft open house plan using the links below.
Where are we in the process? The comprehensive plan process began in early summer 2018. Over 300 members of the community participated in the initial engagement including The Forum on the Future event in November 2018. A 30-member steering committee has been working with City staff and a consulting team to consider input and analysis to draft the plan. Following the Open House, the plan will be revised and considered in a formal adoption process early next year. Following completion of the comprehensive plan, the zoning code update will take approximately 12 to 15 months.
How does Framework and the Comprehensive Plan relate to Elevate? Public feedback at the beginning of the Framework process shaped the priorities of Elevate. Elevate provided the funding mechanism, through which the Framework comprehensive plan can be realized and acted on today. The proposed projects included in Elevate remain open to public feedback through the drafting process of the Framework comprehensive plan.
How does the Comprehensive Plan relate to the West Tuscaloosa Community Inventory? The West Tuscaloosa Community Inventory was underway when Framework began in July 2018 and was completed early in the Comprehensive Plan development process in September 2018. The major findings and recommendations from that effort have been incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan’s actions and Future Land Use Map. Many of these recommendations are listed in the West Tuscaloosa Concentration Area.
How does the Comprehensive Plan relate to other city plans and studies? The Comprehensive Plan covers a broad range of topics at a relatively general level. Its intent is to incorporate and reconcile many past plans with awareness of recent studies, current conditions, community input, and best practices. The Comprehensive Plan references many recent detailed studies, including the West Tuscaloosa Community Inventory, the city’s Transportation Standards, and the Riverwalk Masterplan among others. These recent plans and studies will continue to be used for their detailed guidance. Older plans, such as district specific plans, are incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan’s recommendations and not specifically referenced. The Comprehensive Plan should supersede those documents.
What happens when the Comprehensive Plan is complete? Once the plan is complete, it is anticipated that there will be a formal adoption process involving Planning Commission and City Council. Once the plan is adopted, Framework will focus on the second major phase: rewriting the zoning code. The zoning code rewrite process will begin in early 2020 and last roughly 12-15 months.
Will there be opportunities to provide input into the zoning code update? There will be several public meetings and online input opportunities at key stages in the process.
How is the Comprehensive Plan used? The plan is intended to be used to inform city actions and policy decisions. These decisions include development approvals, capital improvements, city projects, and departmental work programs. The plan’s Future Land Use Map and related recommendations serve as the basis for the city’s zoning ordinance and zoning map. The plan may also help inform and guide private development and investment decisions.
How is the Future Land Use Map different than the zoning map?
The Future Land Use map is a policy guide that depicts the general character and land use that is appropriate throughout the city and it’s planning jurisdiction in the future.
The zoning map and the zoning code are legal documents that define the land uses and the development attributes allowed on a specific property within the city today.
The Future Land Use map is used to inform recommendations about potential zoning changes. It also helps inform the city’s long-term infrastructure planning.
Will the Comprehensive Plan change the zoning of my property? zoning map changes involve a separate City Council public hearing process. However, the plan may change the potential for a property to be rezoned to a specific zoning district in the future. For example, if a property is in a single family residential or neighborhood area on the Future Land Use Map, it might be challenging to rezone the property to a non-residential zoning district.
Will Framework’s zoning code rewrite affect the zoning of my property? Not immediately and then, it depends. The zoning code rewrite is a significant undertaking that will take at least a year to draft. There will be several opportunities during the process for public input. The code rewrite will attempt to maintain what works today and update aspects of the code to make it more user-friendly, incorporate best practices, and implement the Comprehensive Plan’s recommendations. The rewrite may redefine or consolidate some existing zoning districts, and a few new districts may be added. Once the zoning code is complete (in more than a year from now), the city will undertake a process to update the zoning map. That zoning map process will also involve public input and a hearing process.