The Planning and Zoning Committee considers matters related to zoning, planning functions, comprehensive development and land use plans. Requests to rezone property are presented first to the Zoning Advisory Committee of the Birmingham Planning Commission. This committee holds a public hearing and makes a recommendation to the City Council. The Planning & Zoning Committee reviews the request along with the ZAC recommendation and then makes its recommendation to the Council. The Council then holds a public hearing and votes to rezone the property or deny the request. A rezoning will appear on the council agenda twice: once to set the date for the public hearing (First Reading), then again to hold the public hearing.
Requests to vacate streets or alleys are heard by the Subdivision Committee of the Birmingham Planning Commission. The committee makes recommendation to the council. The council holds a public hearing and votes on the request; vacations cannot be placed on the consent agenda. The Subdivision Committee also reviews all new subdivisions and resurveys and approves or denies them. Appeals in subdivision cases are to the Birmingham Planning Commission.
The Zoning Board of Adjustments is a quasi-judicial, independent board whose members are recommended by the Planning & Zoning Committee and appointed by the city council. Its jurisdiction includes: variances, such as height, parking or setback requirements; requests to continue or reinstate legal non-conforming uses; and special exceptions, which are required for some specific uses, including day care centers and communal living facilities. Appeals from the Zoning Board of Adjustments are to Circuit Court; Zoning Board of Adjustments cases are not heard by the council.
The Planning and Zoning Committee makes recommendations for appointments to the following organizations: Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, Birmingham Planning Commission, Design Review Board (from a list approved by the Mayor), Jefferson County Historical Commission, Birmingham Historical Commission, Birmingham Historical Preservation Authority, and Zoning Board of Adjustments.