FOLEY – An update to the Foley zoning ordinance will allow more mixed commercial and residential development in some areas of the city.

The Foley Planning Commission voted in May to recommend that the city approve a zoning ordinance to modify regulations for planned development districts in the municipality. The Foley City Council voted Aug. 7 to approve a first reading on the ordinance.

The council is scheduled to vote on final approval at the next meeting Aug. 21.

Wayne Dyess, executive director of infrastructure and development, said the changes will allow more flexibility for development in some areas of Foley.

“We had some pretty strict minimums on the mixed use components of this,” Dyess said. “This just opens it up and makes it a little more flexible for mixed use which we want to encourage in certain locations.”

Planned development districts are intended to create more flexible regulations to allow mixed residential and commercial development than other guidelines might permit for business and commercial zoning districts, according to the ordinance.

Dyess said the city comprehensive plan identified the need for mixed-use development in some areas of Foley.

The city comprehensive plan adopted in 2022 calls for creating opportunities in the downtown areas through mixed-use development. The plan encourages a mix of building uses downtown to allow people to live and work as well as shop and eat in the same area.

The ordinance voted on by the council states that any mix of building uses should take into account pedestrian uses as well as the preservation of open spaces.

Public benefits of the districts would include traffic and utility improvements, regional and local bicycle and pedestrian improvements, buffering from adjacent sites, aesthetic improvements, dedication of school or  park sites, enhancement of property values, sign enhancements, preservation of natural areas  and views and creating public access to water or other popular sites.

Other uses recommended in the ordinance include areas for open space and recreation, landscaping, traffic circulation, private space for units, parking, tree preservation and preserving views. The districts should also include common natural areas for residents and guests to use.

Requirements for planned development districts under the ordinance include the minimum size of a district, building heights and number of parking spaces for both commercial and residential use.