The Planning Commission then convened two “business meetings” on March 8 and March 29 to consider changes to UDCv4, which effectively modified it to a fifth version of the UDC (UDCv5). The final recommendation of passage of the UDCv5 by the Mobile City Council was voted on at the April 1, 2021 Planning Commission meeting, which saw a few small additional changes made to UDCv5 just before the vote to recommend adoption of the zoning code rewrite to City Council. The Mobile City Council has now received UDCv5, but to-date no Public Comment opportunities have been set.
Back at the February 25th Public Hearing, MEJAC and the Mobile Alabama NAACP continued their environmental justice partnership to make specific recommendations to the Planning Commission in writing. To provide context for the changes partly resulting from environmental justice engagement and advocacy in the code adoption process from UDCv4 to UDCv5, our 10 CONCERNS about UDCv4 are provided below along with 10 UDCv5 UPDATES.
Use this chart for quick reference and to click through to more documentation of our UDCv4 CONCERNS below and how they were or were not addressed in the UDCv5 UPDATES:
v4 Concern 1)Protection Buffers –Partially addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 2)Africatown Tank Farm Expansion – Not addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 3)Industrial Blight in Africatown – Partially addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 4)CPTED limited to Africatown – Not addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 5)Industrial Landscaping in Africatown – Resolved by UDCv5 v4 Concern 6)Riparian Buffer exemptions – Not addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 7)Water conservation in Africatown – Not addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 8)Coal ordinance concerns – Partially addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 9)Oil tank design standards –Not addressed by UDCv5 v4 Concern 10)Affordable housing concerns –Not addressed by UDCv5
The Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition (MEJAC) has submitted copious written commentary to the Map for Mobile Unified Development Code (UDC) process for over three years now about its Africatown Overlay and other elements of the proposed zoning code rewrite.
In the end, the Build Mobile never responded to any concerns from anybody about the proposed Africatown Overlay, which is absolutely intolerable.
Our agency was initially hopeful about the possibilities, and there are many elements of UDC Version 4 (UDCv4) which are positive steps in the right direction. For instance, Neighborhood Meeting standards for Up-Zoning, Conditional Use, and Planned Development creation/modification permit applications should help alleviate any confusion around the authenticity of positions presented as neighborhood opinions should controversy around projects brew. However, we have many outstanding concerns. Continue reading →
MEJAC delivered a petition with 101 local citizen signatures requesting the US Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District to adhere to the environmental justice consultation process it has publicly promised would happen with the Down the Bay and Orange Grove communities during its Mobile Harbor GRR process of considering the impacts of enlarging the Mobile Harbor ship channel to expand Port of Mobile commerce.
Is the Corps taking citizen input about Ship Channel Enlargement seriously? [Original Photo: Courtesy]
At this point, MEJAC has been engaged in the US Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) General Reevaluation Report (GRR) Study for more than two years now and very little of our input has seen adequate response from the Corps.