FOLEY – Residents and Foley officials are working to develop land-use plans for the newest area of the city.

Members of the Mills community met with city representatives Tuesday to discuss proposed zoning designations for the district. Residents voted in August to have their community in west Foley become part of the city.

Miriam Boone, Foley community development director, said the current plan calls for developed parcels in the annexed area to be zoned R-4, a residential designation that is the same as that in neighboring areas. She said lots that now have structures that do not fit the R-4 zoning requirements will be allowed to remain unchanged.

She said one question raised by residents is the use of mobile homes on community lots.

“That is a use allowed on individual lots,” Boone said. “Some of the parcels, maybe four or five, have more than one manufactured home on them. Those are legal, non-conforming. Those can stay. They’re not undoing anything you have out there. Nobody’s going to take away your manufactured home if you have multiple there, but, in the future, if y’all went with R-4, you would need to subdivide into individual lots to have the manufactured homes on the individual lots.”

She said that if residents wanted to place more than one manufactured home on a parcel in the future, one option would be to subdivide the property into two lots. Boone said each of the lots would have to be at least 9,500 square feet in size for a single home and 11,500 square feet for a duplex.

Undeveloped property in the annexed area would be zoned A-O, agricultural-open space.

Wayne Dyess, executive director of infrastructure and development, said the proposed zoning designations are intended to protect property owners and the community. He said the zoning would not allow someone to build an industrial plant or open a bar in the community.

“It provides some protection for the property owners about how property can be used,” Dyess said. “This is generally going to be residential. That’s what it is right now. Basically, it’s a framework that we put in place to help keep your community character the way that it is right now.”

He said property owners would still have ways to attempt to modify the regulations.

“If this is adopted, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone,” Dyess said. “This map can change. There’s rezoning. You can ask for subdivision of your property. If you want to split off a lot, you can ask for that and that lot has to be a certain size with certain setbacks, those kinds of things. It puts some organization to it, primarily.”

He said that if someone did request a zoning change, other residents would have a chance to comment on the proposal before any action was taken.

“Now, you have a voice in how your community develops,” Dyess said. “This is very, very important as we go forward. The city is growing very fast, as you know. This whole area is growing very fast. Having zoning will give you a voice in how you can help your community develop and also how you can help protect the character of your community.”

City officials developed the zoning proposal after several meetings with Mills residents. Another public hearing on the proposal will be held when the Mills zoning plan is presented to the Foley Planning Commission. Boone said that hearing is expected to be in December.

After the Planning Commission votes on the plan, the proposal will be presented to the Foley City Council for an additional public hearing and another vote. That action is expected early in 2024.