There are two zoning districts present in the downtown area which allow mixed residential use:
B5 (Downtown Commercial District) – Residential is permitted use.
M1 (Light Manufacturing District) – Permitted on appeal to the Board of Zoning Adjustment
Plan Submission and review
For residential alterations to a building over 2,499 square feet, a design professional is required. Life safety plans are intended to provide a snap shop of certain code related items as defined by the Design Professional. Plan reviews are not intended to address all code issues. They are intended to spot check for common and critical areas of concern. Life Safety plans provide for quick reviews of critical life safety items such as construction type per allowable area, occupant loads, means of egress, fire protection systems, fire department vehicle access, hydrant locations, and more. Some common items are also identified below.
- Applicable Codes
- Construction types
- Occupancy Classification(s)
- Actual square footages compared to allowable areas showing all credits
- Actual travel distances and allowed travel distances showing path of travel
- Occupant loads and egress capacity
- Exit light locations
- Location of all fire alarm devices and general criteria when a fire alarm is provided
- Sprinkler criteria such as density, area, available water supply
- Seals from respective architects/engineers providing data
- For projects valued at $10,000.00 or more a licensed home building is required. For projects valued at $50,000.00 or more a state of Alabama Licensed General contractor is required. Owners may superintend their own work or choose a licensed contractor as described above.
- Parking (two parking spaces per residential unit recommended in B5 and M1)
- Verify lot lines with City Planning department 256-341-47so.
- Fire Code Compliance: Sprinkler Systems are required throughout a building where there is residential use within that space.
- Adequate means of egress for emergency escape and rescue routes will be required.
- New residential uses in buildings must be handicap accessible where there are 20 or more units per building (see building department) Existing building code 506.1.8
- Elevators are required in new building for four stories or more.
- All new uses including residential must comply with adopted codes and ordinances of the City of Decatur this will include the International Existing Building Code and the International Building Code.
It is important to remember that each individual building and or property will have its own challenges and unique features that make it stand out. These will need to be enhanced and addressed on an individual basis.
Basic guidelines are applicable to most properties, however each building must be evaluated on its own merit. It is highly recommended that you contact a professional for guidance through this evaluation.
Available at City Annex in Planning Dept. Contact Karen Smith at 256-341-4720 While the Legal Primer can give you some basic guides to look at, it is important that you consult a professional before you make any decisions.
How to Reach Departments of City of Decatur
- Building – 256-341-4570
- Street Parks & Recreation – 256-351-7766
- Police – 256-341-4600