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Decatur revising city zoning ordinance; public feedback encouraged

For the first time since 1987, the City of Decatur is updating its zoning ordinance, and they want your comments.

DECATUR, Ala. — For the first time in more than 30 years, the City of Decatur is completely rewriting its zoning ordinance. You can find public review draft of the new zoning ordinance on the One Decatur website.

According to the city, a zoning ordinance is the adopted law of a city that regulates land use, growth, and development. It divides the city into different zoning districts and generally governs the location, size, and type of development in each district. A zoning ordinance also establishes the process for reviewing development proposals and includes standards for different aspects of development, like parking, landscaping, lighting, signage, building design, and environmental impacts.

Residents are encouraged to give their feedback regarding the changes to the document online. Featured updates include:

  • Diagrams depicting required dimensional standards.
  • Updated definitions and permitted use tables that are easy to interpret and determine which uses are permitted in each zoning district.
  • Updated development standards for: landscaping, off-street parking, exterior lighting, and signs.
  • Added standards for: development form and design, multi-modal access and circulation, open space set-asides, neighborhood compatibility, and green building initiatives.
  • New zoning districts including: mixed-use districts, planned development districts, and residential mixed-medium and high density districts.

City officials say Decatur’s zoning ordinance was published in 1987, with several portions dating back to the 1950s. The rewrite is intended to reflect the changes in the city and its neighborhoods and is part of the city's long range planning.

Public input is also sought for the Singing River Trail Western Route Master Plan. The trail network would connect Decatur, Florence, Huntsville, and other North Alabama cities. You can suggest destinations to connect, preferred trail routes, places with barriers to trail development, and give your opinion on the current plan. 

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