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Downtown/Riverfront Overlay District

The Downtown/Riverfront Overlay District (DROD) was established in 2007 to provide development and use regulations to supplement the current set of standards to regulate development within Tuscaloosa’s downtown and the adjacent riverfront area. The visual and functional character of the downtown and riverfront area is an important resource, the retention of which impacts property values and economic vitality throughout the area. These standards provide additional protection for the substantial investment, both private and public, being made and planned within this area and ensure compatible development takes place within the downtown and riverfront area of Tuscaloosa.

For more information, please see Chapter 24, Article XVII of the Zoning Ordinance .


The Riverfront Development District (RDD) was established in 2008, providing standards and review procedures for the development and redevelopment of property and structures. The riverfront of the Black Warrior River is a unique natural, scenic and historic resource of the City of Tuscaloosa. The fact that the river virtually bisects the city itself coming into direct proximity to the downtown of the city as well as residential and commercial areas of the city, the signature urban core of the region, mandates that if this limited and unique natural resource is to be preserved and protected for future generations, there must be orderly and well planned development in its vicinity. Furthermore, it must be recognized that the attraction of the riverfront creates residential and commercial opportunities which may simultaneously pose potentially adverse environmental impacts to the natural qualities of the riverfront, involving various environmental concerns and constraints regarding the river and its floodplain. Reconciling these varied considerations requires special standards and plan review procedures to ensure the protection and perpetuation of the river as a natural resource through optimal land use and carefully planned and guided development.

For more information, please see Chapter 24, Article XVIII of the Zoning Ordinance .

University Residential District (formerly University Area Neighborhood)

Established in 2005, the University Area Neighborhood protects the public welfare and the value of property in the vicinity of the University of Alabama campus by securing appropriate development that is in harmony with the objectives of the specific plan for the university area. Uses and development of said land, buildings and structures in this district should be harmonious and compatible with and not have an undesirable or detrimental impact on surrounding development. In order to achieve this goal, certain properties located within the University Residential District (URD) are provided incentives for approved significant reinvestment and redevelopment by allowing properties that are issued a certificate of approval as provided herein to permit up to five unrelated persons to live in a single dwelling unit that has been designed to directly accommodate up to five unrelated occupants.

Eligible development activities in the URD that may qualify for certification to permit up to five unrelated persons to reside in a single dwelling unit include the following:

A) New construction of a permitted U-dwelling allowed in the base zoning district and complying fully with all applicable codes and ordinances; or

B) Redevelopment or conversion of an existing building and site to a U-dwelling in order to fully conform to all applicable codes in the base zoning district

For more information, please see Chapter 24, Article XVI of the Zoning Ordinance .

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