Mobile Baykeeper Submits Comments on Map for Mobile

The Future Land Use Map for the City of Mobile. Picture - Map for Mobile

Today we submitted comments on the Draft Future Land Use Plan, Master Street Plan, and Zoning Code and Subdivision Regulations as part of the Map for Mobile. We are excited and thankful for everything that has been accomplished to make Mobile a better place through this process. We believe these comments contain suggestions, that if implemented, will improve Mobilians' quality of life and protect our environment. They are also very much in line with Mayor Stimpson's vision of making Mobile the "most family friendly city in America by 2020".

Our comments centered around a few important points.

1. We want to see waterway buffers around our creeks, wetlands, and bays.

Riparian buffers protect water quality in streams and make them more desirable places to recreate and enjoy.

Waterway buffers, also called "riparian buffers", are areas that are not developed near waterways. They prevent erosion of stream banks, improve water quality by filtering and trapping pollutants such as nutrients, chemicals, pesticides, and sediments, reduce flooding impacts, provide habitat for aquatic animals, and promote the waterway as a destination rather than a ditch.

Cities like Knoxville and Atlanta have already started protecting their waterways using waterway buffer ordinances.

2. We request that Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Infrastructure Practices are incorporated into our regulating ordinances.

An example of combating flooding and stormwater pollution with green infrastructure in Milwaukee, WI Photo - Aaron Volkening

By mirroring natural processes, decreasing the amount of hard area in developments, and allowing stormwater to infiltrate into the ground rather than runoff parking lots and roads, these practices decrease harmful stormwater pollution that often makes it unsafe to swim in our creeks, rivers, and Bay. They also help in reducing flooding and create developments that are more desirable, improving the quality of life for residents living nearby.

Similar practices to what we suggest are already being implemented in cities across the U.S. including Daphne, Fairhope, and Atlanta. There they are having positive impacts on citizens' quality of life, the environment, and ensuring development takes place responsibly. Mobile deserves to benefit from similar practices!

3. We want to see rules that protect developments and their neighbors from increased flooding and changes in drainage.

Many times, when properties are developed, there is an increase in hard areas such as rooftops, parking lots, and roads. This increase can cause rain water to flow off of the land faster and in different ways than it did prior to development. Often times this results in flooding of the new development and nearby residents. We suggest that the City implements rules similar to those used in Montgomery, and the St. John's Watershed to ensure that developments and surrounding neighbors are not flooded and the flows of our waterways are considered when large construction projects take place.

4. We want to see zoning codes and plans that consider and work with other current planning efforts such as the Three Mile Creek Watershed Management Plan, the Dog River Watershed Management Plan, and the Mobile Greenway Initiative.

We are excited to see Mobile moving forward in updating and strengthening its plans, codes, and regulations so that all citizens are ensured a great quality of life and a healthy environment to enjoy. We look forward to seeing Map for Mobile implement the above suggestions to make sure that we can all enjoy our unparalleled natural environment and the benefits it will bring to Mobile for many years to come!

Let your voice be heard! To voice your own comments, you can send them via email to MapForMobile@CityofMobile.org. Additionally, we encourage citizens to provide public comment about the DRAFT Future Land Use Plan and Map and the DRAFT Major Street Plan and Map at the Public Hearing on May 18th at 2:00 PM in the Government Plaza Auditorium.

A full copy of the comments we submitted can be found below.

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If you have any questions please contact program director, Cade Kistler, by phone at (251) 433-4229 or by email at ckistler@mobilebaykeeper.org