Planning

The Ordinance describes the types, size, and shape of uses that can exist in the appropriate zoning districts. These regulations, in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan, ensure that land uses are compatibly located and benefit the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens. Questions about the Zoning Ordinance can be answered by the

Urban Development Department at (251) 208-5895.

To report a complaint, call the Action Center at 311

The City of Mobile is committed to enhancing the appearance and economic value of Mobile’s visual environment. The Sign Ordinance regulates size, type, number, and location of signs available to each business. The Sign Ordinance can be found within the Zoning Ordinance. To obtain information on the Sign Ordinance, contact the Urban Development Department at (251) 208-5895.

To report a complaint, call the Action Center at 311

In an effort to enhance the aesthetic and economic value of the city, Mobile enacted a Landscaping Ordinance. These regulations require that new or significantly changed uses provide sufficient trees and landscaped areas to improve the City’s visual and natural environment. The Landscaping Ordinance can be found within the Zoning Ordinance. Questions about the Landscaping Ordinance can be answered by the Urban Development Department at (251) 208-5895.

To report a complaint, call the Action Center at 311

The Planning Commission meets twice a month.  Applications must be submitted according to the deadline and meeting schedule.  Application packets must be complete and accurate, otherwise consideration may be delayed or the application held over by the Planning Commission.  Applications are submitted to the Planning Division of the Urban Development Department.  Applications and Filing Schedules are available under Forms and Applications.

Another service the Planning Division provides is as an advisor to the Planning Commission on the issue of subdivisions or the dividing of land. Subdivisions are usually the first step in development of growth which is a big concern to the City and its Planning Jurisdiction in terms of provision of adequate services. Therefore, the Planning Commission will determine if the minimum requirements (i.e. size of lot, proper access, etc.) are met before approving the subdivision. In addition to reviewing these applications within the city limits, the Commission’s jurisdiction extends five miles beyond the city limits to what is known as the Planning Jurisdiction. The State allows the extension because again, the City of Mobile must be prepared to provide services as the city grows.

 

Check online at - Web Mapping or contact the Land Use office at (251) 208-5895. Please verify all information with the Department before making any business decisions.

 

For a standard-size lot (minimum of 60’ wide), you can build as close as 25’ to your front property line and as close as 8’ to your rear property line. In general, for lots which are not on a corner, you can build as close as 8’ to your side property line as long as you allow at least 12’ of space on the opposite side of the structure (for a total of 20’ of side yard setback). For corner lots or lots which are less than 60’ in width, call the Urban Development Department for setbacks.

 

Zoning Ordinance, Section IV.D.6.

6. FENCES AND WALLS. No fence or wall that obstructs sight shall be erected or altered in any required front yard to exceed a height of three (3) feet, and no fence or wall shall be erected or altered in any required side or rear yard to exceed a height of eight (8) feet.

Home Occupation Business is an occupation for gain or support that is conducted only by members of a family living in a dwelling. It is allowed in residentially zoned areas subject to, but not limited to, the following conditions:

  1. It must be conducted entirely within the dwelling and not take place in the yard or a detached building.
  2. Only 25% of the gross floor area in the dwelling may be utilized for the business activity.
  3. Only residents of the home may work in the dwelling.
  4. The business activity shall be incidental to the residential uses of the premises.
  5. No retail sales are permitted directly from the residence.
  6. Limited to 1 sign, unlighted, attached to the dwelling and no larger than 1 square foot.

In general, a Home Occupation Business shall include personal services such as those provided by a physician, musician, artist, cosmetician, or seamstress. Some Home Occupation Businesses may require additional conditions than those listed above.

For any additional information about your particular business, please call the Planning Division at (251) 208-5895 or via e-mail at planning@cityofmobile.org

To report a complaint or possible violation, please call the City of Mobile Action Center at 311


Subdivision Regulations (pdf)
Subdivision Approval is required whenever a new lot is being created, or an existing lot line is being removed, or shifted regardless of whether the property is being sold or simply conveyed to someone else. The Planning Commission reviews all such applications within the corporate limits of Mobile, as well as the Planning Jurisdiction which extends five miles beyond the corporate limits. This approval ensures that the proposed subdivision of land complies with the minimum requirements of the Subdivision Regulations, including but not limited to minimum lot size and adequate access. (Subdivision Application (pdf))

  •  (Sign Permit Application (pdf))

    General Information
    • All signs require permitting.
    • Each sign requires a separate permit application, permit fee and inventory fee.
    • All permit applications must be signed by a licensed and bonded sign contractor or the property owner.
    • All signs must be located on private property (except sandwich board signs, described below).
    • All illuminated signs must have an Underwriter Laboratory number and sticker.
    • No flashing, blinking, or chasing lights are allowed.

Required Information for Sign Permit

  • A completed sign permit application.
  • The dimensions of the facia for a wall sign.
  • The amount of linear street frontage for a free-standing sign.
  • The location, number, size and height of all signs located on the property where the proposed sign is to be placed.
  • A Certificate of Appropriateness from the Architectural Review Board, if the sign is located in an area subject to Review Board approval.

(Banner Permit Application (pdf))

Banners are allowed in the City Limits of Mobile subject to the appropriate permitting.

  • A completed banner permit application per occurrence.
    $20.00 permit fee per application.
  • Limited to 30 days, 3 occurrences per year, not to run consecutively.
  • Must be placed on private property, attached to building.
    Review Board approval required in Historic Districts.

(Sandwich Board Sign Application (pdf))

Sandwich Board Information

  • Only one sandwich board sign allowed per business located on the ground floor and facing a public street.
  • Max. size 24” wide by 36” high (including frame and legs)
  • Hold Harmless Agreement required.
  • Must be removed from sidewalk before close of business.

$25.00 permit fee

 

A Zoning Clearance must be obtained to ensure that the property is appropriately zoned for the proposed business use. The City Revenue Department can then be contacted for the required licenses.  It is advisable to verify the zoning is appropriate for your proposed business BEFORE signing any lease or other documents.

 

The DDD Code is intended to:

  1. Implement the purposes and objectives of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, including the New Plan for Mobile;
  2. Guide the siting, form, and use of private property and buildings to support walkability, safe streets, and safe public spaces;
  3. Guide building siting and form to vary by context and intensity in coordination with community identity and preferences;
  4. Build on the work of the Mobile Historic Development Commission in protecting and enhancing the historic and cultural heritage of Mobile’s historic downtown.

The DDD Code applies to all properties located within the DDD [the Henry Aaron Loop and including Cooper Riverside Park, the Maritime Museum, and the Cruise Terminal].  The provisions of the DDD Code shall be the complete zoning code for the DDD. 

The DDD is divided into the following zoning sub-districts, referred to herein as transect sub-districts, and special districts:

  1. T-6: a mixed-use district of high intensity.
  2. T-5: a mixed-use district of medium intensity. T-5 is further subdivided into T-5.1 and T-5.2 sub-districts.
  3. T-4: a mixed-use district of low intensity, primarily residential uses and neighborhood retail.
  4. T-3: a low-density residential district.
  5. SD-WH: a special district established to guide the redevelopment of the portion of the DDD primarily dedicated to warehousing, manufacturing and buildings of similar characteristics.
  6. SD: all special districts except SD-WH require a master plan be completed in coordination with the Planning Section. Transect sub-districts are assigned through the master plan process. Master plans shall be approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council of Mobile.

You may call or email the Planning Division, or use the City of Mobile Web Mapping application  

251.208.5895

planning@cityofmobile.org

http://maps.cityofmobile.org/citymap/index.html

Property Maintenance

Yes, the City’s prohibition against junk vehicles continues under the amended ordinance.
The vehicle is inoperable, wrecked, abandoned, has flat tires or is missing parts: such as a motor, door(s), window(s) or other body parts.
Litter receptacles, including cigarette receptacles, will be required to adequately contain litter generated at the premises, with one exception. If the premises are smoke free, no cigarette receptacle will be required. Litter and cigarette receptacles are generally located at entrances, employee smoking areas and common pedestrian transition points.
The City will begin assessing fines and court costs for violations of all provisions of the amended litter ordinance (except for enclosing dumpsters) for violations occurring on or after October 1, 2014. The dumpster enclosure requirement will be enforced beginning March 1, 2015.
Yes, commercial and industrial properties, multi-family residential premises, and places of assembly must be free of litter including the grounds, parking lots, right-of-ways, driveways and loading areas.
No, all signs in the City’s right-of-ways, on utility poles and on trees are prohibited.
The fine for littering is $250. In addition, court costs and fees are $191.00. Every day a violation exists can result in a separate fine and court costs/fees.
311 or (251) 208-5311 or Keep Mobile Beautiful: (251) 208-6025
Both owners and occupants are responsible for litter on a property and both may be ticketed.
Yes, all developed, undeveloped and vacant properties must be free of litter. All premises, including: parking lots, right-of-ways, driveways and loading areas must be clean.
Yes, political campaign signs are not allowed in the right-of-way, on utility poles, or on trees. They are allowed on private property.
It must be at least the height of the dumpster and a maximum of 8ft tall.
The enclosure must have 3 sides – constructed of either wood or brick. The enclosure may have a 4th side as a door or gate made of wood or opaque material such as metal or chain link with mesh or slats that you cannot see through.
Not at this time. At some point in the future, environmental regulations may mandate that the City update its ordinances to require that all dumpsters be on a pad and be connected to the sanitary sewer system.
If the fence around the property or parking lot is sufficient to contain spill out debris, a separate fence around the dumpster may not be required.

Tree Commission

The Mobile Tree Commission is responsible for overseeing the protection of trees located in the city rights-of-ways.  The trimming and/or removal of any tree located within a City right-of-way must first be considered by The Commission at a public hearing.  

All trees located in the right-of-way, regardless of size or species, must have approval and a permit from the Mobile Tree Commission to be trimmed or removed.

The Mobile Tree Commission meets once a month, on the fourth Tuesday, at 5:30 PM.  The meetings are currently held at the Parks and Recreation Department Headquarters located at 48 Sage Avenue North.