What is a Master Plan?
2019 City-Wide Master Plan
Stay Informed about the Citywide Master Plan
City of Birmingham Master Plan History Master Plan Charrette
Keep an eye on this page as well as the City's social media platforms for information once the details are finalized. You can also find a wealth of information on the current Master Plan process as well as the City's robust history of Planning at www.thebirminghamplan.com.
What is a Master Plan?
Master Plans are the official statement of a local government's legislative body's vision for future development and conservation. These documents set goals and guide decision making on land use, development standards, transportation, housing, community facilities and more. On a functional level, a master plan is a roadmap for the development and refinement of the City's present and future needs. The master plan is the documentation of an approach to physical issues which will help the City achieve its goals. Because those goals can and will change over time, the master plan should be re-evaluated and updated on a regular basis.
2019 Citywide Master Plan
The City is working on a comprehensive, citywide update of the 1980 Birmingham Plan and the formal inclusion of each of the subarea plans into an updated comprehensive master plan ("the Plan"). While some portions of the Birmingham Plan may continue to be relevant today, specific area that need to be updated include:
*Community vision and planning objectives;
*Update of Population section to include current demographic data, future projections and analysis;
*Update of Regional and Surrounding Development section to include current and projected demographic data (residential, retail, office, mix of land uses) and analysis of the region, regional and downtown development trends and regional collaboration efforts;
*Update of Residential Housing section to include neighborhood vision in the residential areas, analysis of changes in residential patterns and residential areas from 1980 to now, typology and character of neighborhoods, development trends, future projections and future direction;
*The physical characteristics of neighborhoods should be identified and documented including historic attributes, landscape conditions, housing type and the period of construction for each area;
*Review and update of Transportation section to include current vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle data, recent and currently budgeted improvements, current multi-modal trends, regional transportation projects and future recommendations based on regional and national best practices;
*Update and review of existing land use, update recommendations for future land uses and updated future land use map including the area of Woodward between 14 Mile Rd. and Lincoln, known as the S. Woodward gateway;
*Parking analysis and recommendations for both public and private parking regulations throughout the entire City. This will include consideration of parking requirements, public parking needs, potential for shared parking as well as emerging and innovative technologies;
*Review and update of the Policies section to encourage the implementation of the City's vision, current goals, best practices, current technological advances and innovative policies.
This new plan is spearheaded by the renowned planning and design consulting firm DPZ Co Design, led by Andres Duany, one of the firms' founders. DPZ Co Design has prior experience in Birmingham. DPZ Co. Design prepared the Downtown 2016 Plan that was adopted in 1996.
The Master Plan update process began in February 2019 and will continue for approximately 18 months. One of the primary focuses of the update has been studying residential areas of Birmingham and evaluating existing conditions to prepare a vision for the future. The process includes extensive public visioning sessions, a new app, a website, phone interviews and public meetings.
* The project began in January, 2019
* A charrette was held in May, 2019
* First Draft-May-October 2019
* Second Draft-November-February 2020
* Adoption-June 2020
Earlier this year, City Manager Joe Valentine discussed the citywide Master Plan process on a taping of “Eye On Oakland” with former City Commissioner and Mayor of Birmingham, Chuck Moss and his co-host, noted attorney Dave Potts. View the "Eye On Oakland" footage and learn more about the project.
Stay Informed about the Citywide Master Plan
To receive updates regarding the City's Master Plan process, you are encouraged to sign up through the City's enotify system at: http://www.bhamgov.org/enotify/. Also, sign up for the Citywide Master Plan Constant Contact group at www.bit.ly/bhamnews.
You can also contact City Planning Director Jana Ecker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and City Planner Brooks Cowan at email@example.com.
You are also encouraged to continue to monitor City communication tools such as the monthly Around Town e-newsletter as well as the upcoming Fall-Winter print newsletter, where articles on the Master Plan will appear. In addition, the monthly Inside City Hall video from City Manager Joe Valentine along with City social media platforms such as the City website, Facebook and Nextdoor will provide updates on the process. Finally, as mentioned, the project website, www.thebirminghamplan.com has an array of information about the current Master Plan process as well as insights into Birmingham’s history of municipal planning and much more.
City of Birmingham Master Plan History
The City of Birmingham has a history of implementing master plans and ordinances that are intended to guide and regulate the growth of the City in order to promote the type of development that the citizens and property owners value. Currently, the development of the City's planning and zoning regulations are principally governed by six documents which are currently available on the City website:
*The Birmingham Future Land Use Plan (1980);
*The Downtown Birmingham 2016 Plan (1996);
* The Eton Road Corridor Plan (1999);
*The Triangle District Plan (2007)
*The Alleys and Passages Plan (2012) and
*The Multi-Modal Plan (2013).
The Future Land Use Plan ("the Plan") was the last comprehensive master plan to be adopted by the City in 1980. The Plan made specific recommendations throughout the City that are intended to protect residential areas while at the same time made recommendations that would allow commercial areas to thrive. Since the adoption of the Plan, the City has updated the Master Plan through the additional subarea plans listed above. Those plans have been implemented through three overlay zones (Downtown, Triangle and Via Activation) and the rezoning of the rail district to MX (Mixed Use). The Multi-Modal Plan adopted in 2013 is now the guiding document for the City in regards to transportation infrastructure, major right of way improvements and user accessibility issues. The cumulative effect of all the subarea plans has essentially updated the Future Land Use Plan in almost all of the commercially zoned areas of Birmingham.
The updating and implementation of master plans and subarea plans are important aspects of maintaining and improving the standard of excellence that is expected in Birmingham. Although the subarea plans listed above have been established in the City over the past 20 years, there has not been a comprehensive, city-wide Master Plan updated completed since the 1980 Future Land Use Plan. There are several components of the plan that included demographic data and projections that were based on a 20-year time frame (1980-2000). In addition, many of the land use policies and system analysis may be considered outdated now considering the advancements in technology and changes in lifestyle habits. Accordingly, much of the information provided in the Plan was intended to be projections up to the year 2000 and is in need of updating.
Joint City Commission/Planning Board Meeting - Thursday, October 17, 2019
Master Plan Charrette videos and photos (May 2019)
In case you were not able to attend any of the Master Plan Charrette public events, watch the videos below to follow what happened at the Charrette Opening Presentation (led by renowned Planner Andres Duany and his team from DPZ Co Design); Neighborhood book author Emily Talen's lecture; the Policies round table with City board leaders and staff and the Charrette Closing Presentation.