Zoning Code Update

On February 17, 2021, the City of Tuscaloosa Planning Commission adopted the Framework Comprehensive Plan. The City is now undertaking the second major phase of Framework and one of the most important steps to take the plan to action – updating the zoning ordinance.

About the zoning code update

Documents and work products

Provide input and feedback

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 zoning code rewrite is the second major phase of the Framework process. It began in early 2021 and will last roughly into mid-2022. There will be several opportunities for public input and feedback at key stages in the process.  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 graphic below depicts the major tasks for updating the zoning code.

How does the zoning code relate to the comprehensive plan and future land use map?

The comprehensive plan is a policy guide that contains goals and actions to guide future development and redevelopment in the city. It addresses a long-range vision for development, housing, environment, economic development, transportation, community facilities and services, and related topics. It acts as a guidebook for decision-makers and is not a legally binding document. The Future Land Use Map within the plan is a policy guide that depicts the general character and land use that is appropriate throughout the city and its 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. They are the regulations that help to implement policies in the comprehensive plan.

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.

Learn more about the comprehensive plan and future land use map.

 

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.

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Documents and Work Products

Throughout the zoning code rewrite process, work products will be made available to the public for review and input. This section will be updated with those documents as they become available.

Your Input is Important

Use the form below to share your comments and feedback on the zoning ordinance rewrite. Check back for upcoming engagement opportunities for the zoning rewrite process.

1

Comment on the zoning code   

Tell us what you feel is most important to address in the code rewrite or share other thoughts as the process begins.

General Zoning Comments
Please provide a topic that your comment applies. If you are referring to a specific zoning code section then please include that section in your topic description.

2

Sign-up to participate in the first round of public input events.

 

Check back soon for details.