Planning Department

Department Phone:
(256) 341-4720

Department Fax:
(256) 341-4727

Office Address:
402 Lee Street NE
Fourth Floor
Decatur, AL 35601

Office Hours:
8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Monday – Friday

Planning Email:
Planning Department Contact

Department Responsibilities:

“The planning commission is authorized and empowered to make and adopt a master plan for the physical development of the city, including any areas outside its boundaries which, in the commission’s judgment, bear relation to the planning of such municipality.” (Section 2-242(a) of the Code of Decatur, Al) The commission’s priority should be the cost effective and orderly extension of public services. “The commission is authorized and empowered to adopt for transmittal to the city council a zoning plan for the control of the height, area, bulk, location and use of buildings and premises in the area.” (Section 2-242(c) of the Code of Decatur, AL) The commission also has authority to approve or disapprove the subdivision of land within the city limits and the planning jurisdiction. The Planning Department provides administrative services for the Planning Commission.

The Planning Department provides the following services as part of that responsibility:

  • Prepares and administers the monthly planning commission meetings, including preparing the agenda and maintaining the official minutes. As part of this the following applications are processed through the planning department.
    • Subdivision of land, major or minor subdivision applications and certificates to subdivide.
    • Zoning or rezoning of land
    • Amendments to the zoning ordinances
    • Site plan reviews for proposed developments
    • Annexations requests
    • Vacation requests
    • Amendments to and adoption of the Comprehensive Plan
  • Coordinates with the GIS department on mapping, including the street map, zoning map, voting maps, and the like
  • Coordinates with GIS and legal department on the legal boundaries and description of the city and the planning jurisdiction
  • Administers improvement bonds (subdivision and frontage road)
  • Administers the street naming and addressing for the city and acts as liaison to E911
  • Acts as the city’s liaison to the US Census bureau and updates and develops the voting precinct and district lines and descriptions
  • Acts as the city’s liaison to the US Justice Department with respect to the Voting Rights Act compliance
  • Provides demographic information
  • Serves as liaison and advisor to civic groups
  • Capital improvement recommendations and programming
  • Coordinates amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, including district boundaries and the text of the document
  • Coordinates with the building department on zoning issues and enforcement
  • Liaison to the Board of Zoning Adjustment
  • Reports to the City Council as needed
  • Liaison to the Public Space Usage Committee
  • Liaison to the Parking Authority
  • Provides support as needed to various public entities, including the Downtown Merchants, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the River Clay Committee

Meeting Information:

Important Planning Meetings

Planning Commission: The City of Decatur, Planning Commission, meets on the next to last Tuesday of each month at 3:30 P.M. in the City Council Chambers of City Hall. The Planning Commission consists of nine commissioners. The commissioners as established by state law are six mayoral appointments, the mayor on his designee, one appointed by the city council from its membership (generally this is also the planning departments liaison to the city council) and an administrative official of the city. All applications made to the Planning Department are reviewed by the Planning Commission. When making an application to the commission, the applicant, or his representative, should be present at the meeting.

Subdivision Committee (Technical Review Committee): The City of Decatur, Subdivision Committee, meets on the Tuesday prior to the Planning Commission Meeting at 1:15 P.M. in the Conference Room of the City Annex. This committee is responsible for reviewing applications made to the Planning Department for subdivision of land, site plan review, vacations of easements or right-of-ways, and annexation. The Subdivision Committee does technical review of the application submitted to the planning department. The committee is made up of representatives of the various entities that provide public services in the city and the planning jurisdiction; some examples of this include, but are not limited to, utilities, streets, drainage schools, parks and public safety. This committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Planning Commission. The applicant, or his representative, should make every effort to be present at this meeting.

Zoning Committee: The City of Decatur Zoning Committee is composed of the chairman or vice chairman of the Planning Commission, and the chairman of the Board of Zoning Adjustment. This meeting also is attended by the building director as the enforcement arm of the zoning ordinance, city planner and city attorney. It meets on the Tuesday prior to the Planning Commission meeting to review applications for zoning or rezoning of land and amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. Recommendations from the Zoning Committee are forwarded to the Planning Commission for review and approval.

Application Deadline:

All applications must be submitted to the Planning Department 21 days prior to the Planning Commission meeting.