Planning & Community Development
This department is responsible for overall planning responsibilities in the city in coordination with the building department. This department is also responsible for administrative support to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment. This office implements the procedural tasks required to implement zoning code amendments, special exceptions, and variances. This office is responsible for setting up meetings for Planning and Zoning board and Board of Adjustment, taking the minutes of those meetings, sending out required documents, and providing general staff service support to the City Administrator's office.
Bree Robinson, City Planner
Reports and Studies
- Achieving Resilience Through Hazard Mitigation
- ANERR Management Plan
- APA Franklin Housing Shimberg Data
- Apalachicola Level of Service on State Roads
- Apalachicola Stormwater Master Plan 2007
- Area of Critical State Concern Work Plan
- COA Vulnerability Analysis
- Dewberry Drainage Basin Analysis Project Report
- Franklin County Affordable Housing Presentation
- Franklin County Section 2018 NWFWMD Water Supply Assessment
- Planning & Zoning Application
- Variance Application
- Special Exception Application
- Re-Zoning or Land Use Change Application
- 911 Address Form
(This form must be returned to the Franklin County Planning Department - not the City of Apalachicola Planning Department. A Verified 911 Address is required before any P&Z applications or building permits can be processed.)
The City of Apalachicola is dedicated to improving the quality of area surface waters by reducing the amount of pollution carried to our river and bay due to stormwater runoff.
Stormwater is water that originates from rain and enters the City’s stormwater system. Precipitation which is not absorbed into the ground due to an impervious surface, like concrete or asphalt, is considered stormwater runoff.
The City’s stormwater system is designed to collect stormwater runoff in catch basins and storm drains and channel that water to our waterways using a network of underground pipes that make up our stormwater system. A variety of toxic pollutants are washed from the streets and parking lots into storm drains, creeks, rivers, and ultimately to Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. These pollutants include leaking oil, antifreeze, and gasoline from motor vehicles; copper dust, which is released from motor vehicle brake pad linings; rubber tire dust; soaps and chemicals used to wash motor vehicles; waste motor oil from vehicles, lawn mowers, and small equipment; and fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. This type of pollution is called non-point source pollution due to the fact that it comes from many unidentifiable sources making it hard to regulate and prevent.
How you can help
The best way to reduce stormwater pollution is to stop it at its source. Keep your storm drains clean and free of debris. Remember that pollutants flushed down storm drains directly affects the quality of our rivers and could possibly make them unsafe for boating, fishing, swimming and other water related activities.
Here are some tips to help keep our waterways clean:
- Don’t work on your car in a place where oil and grease could be washed into street gutters. Used motor oil should be contained and taken to a collection center. Most automotive shops provide this service.
- Grass clippings should be bagged and disposed of with yard waste. Dumping grass clippings down a storm drain can slow storm water flow and clog the drains.
- Do not wash dirty paint brushes under an outdoor faucet. Chances are the dirty rinse water will flow into a storm drain and into our rivers. Water-based paints can be washed in the sink and oil based paint should be cleaned with a paint thinner, filtered out, wrapped in newspaper and discarded with the trash.
- Pet droppings should not be discarded into storm drains or left in the yard. Clean up pet droppings and dispose of them in the garden, trash bins, or in the toilet.
- When washing your vehicle, park on grass or some other area that can absorb the runoff water. Washing your car on the street sends all the chemicals used to clean your car into a catch basin and directly into our water.
- Use pesticides sparingly and don’t fertilize right before it rains.
- Try to keep trash and other debris out of gutters and away from catch basins.
Report Illegal Dumping
Dumping waste down storm drains is not only bad for the environment but is illegal. If you have questions or a complaint please call the Apalachicola City Hall at (850) 653-8222.
What the City of Apalachicola is Doing
The City is currently working with engineers to repair and replace much of the City’s aging stormwater utility pipes and conveyances.
The City is also creating a public outreach/information program to inform the public on ways to reduce stormwater pollution. Current projects include updating stormwater management regulations, creating stormwater education brochures, maintaining a stormwater page on the City website with pertinent educational links and holding a series of public workshops on stormwater related environmental and planning topics.
Storm Drain Markers
The City storm water system was designed to collect storm water runoff in curb inlets/storm drains and channel that water to the local waterways using a network of underground pipes. A variety of toxic pollutants are washed from the roadways and parking lots into storm system which ultimately pour into the rivers and ocean. These pollutants include oil, antifreeze, and gasoline from motor vehicles; copper dust, which is released from motor vehicle brake pad linings; rubber tire dust; soaps and chemicals used to wash motor vehicles; waste motor oil from vehicles, lawn mowers, and small equipment; fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. This type of pollution is called non-point source pollution due to the fact that it comes from many unidentifiable sources making it hard to regulate and prevent.
The City has placed storm drain markers to mark street storm drains. The markers remind people that only rain goes down a drain. They have the warning “No Dumping in Drains” printed on them. Look for the markers on city streets.
For more information on stormwater pollution prevention, link to the sites below:
- What is urban stormwater?
- What causes stormwater pollution?
- What can we do everyday to help eliminate stormwater pollution?
- Environmental Protection Agency Polluted Run-off Information Page
- National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Information Web site
- National Pollution Discharge Emiliation System Stormwater Web site
For information about City stormwater regulations, click on the link below.
City Stormwater regulations
For information about how you can help contain stormwater on your property, click on the link below.
What is the P&Z board?
The City of Apalachicola has a Planning & Zoning board comprised of 7 citizens that review and approve all new development within Apalachicola City Limits. They meet on the second Monday of every month at 6PM in the Community Center at 1 Bay Avenue. The deadline for P&Z applications to be placed on the agenda is 10 business days prior to the meeting.
What type of developments require P&Z approval?
Any new development within Apalachicola City Limits must go before the P&Z board – this includes, but is not limited to sheds, additions, new construction, mobile homes, decking, concrete pads, non-pervious pavers, brick pathways, pole barns, accessory structures, fencing, pools, replats, etc.
What is the P&Z board reviewing for?
The City Planner and P&Z board are reviewing for total site plan code compliance. This includes land use, setbacks, lot coverage, etc. The regulations for each zone can be found here.
How can I tell what zone I’m in?
The City of Apalachicola zoning map can be found here. If you are unsure on what block/lot your property is, you can go to Records Search - Franklin County Property Appraiser (gsacorp.io) and find your property information. If you need help, please reach out to Bree Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I find the Code for my Zone?
You can click here to review the Zoning regulations for the City of Apalachicola.
What all do I need to turn in to be placed on the P&Z agenda?
You will need to turn in a completed P&Z application along with a detailed site plan with current and proposed square footage of any structures or lot coverage. For larger developments or commercial developments, more information might be required.
What is a site plan? Do I have to hire someone to do this?
Site plans can be drawn by the applicant, but must be accurate. A survey is a great place to start! Site plans at minimum must contain the entire lot with dimensions shown, surrounding streets/alleys labeled, all setback dimensions shown, all current structures with dimensions and square footage, and all proposed structures with dimensions and square footage. All current lot coverage must be shown – staff will look at each site before an item is placed on the agenda to ensure site plan accuracy.
Where do I turn my application in?
You can turn your application in at City Hall or email it directly to Bree Robinson, City Planner, at email@example.com. You can also email her any questions you may have.
Is there a fee for P&Z?
Yes, they are as follows and are due at the time of submission of the P&Z Application:
- New Residential Construction $200
- Residential Accessory Structure (sheds, pole barns, pools, etc.) $50
- Fences (New or Materially Altered) $0
- Commercial New Construction $450+
- Commercial/Multifamily Fences (New or Replacement) $100
Failure to apply for P&Z Approval is subject to Building Dept. Fines.
What is a Certificate of Appropriateness? Is there a fee for this?
If your property falls within the Historic District, then it is subject to review for a Certificate of Appropriateness along with the standard P&Z Site Plan Approval. This is required for all properties in the historic district and applies to new construction, additions, accessory structures, fences, any exterior renovations involving changing materials, etc. The P&Z Board serves as the Architectural Review Board as well, and all P&Z applications include a Certificate of Appropriateness if they are within the Historic District. There will be a standard P&Z fee and the COA fee will also be added - these fees are due at time of the P&Z Application:
- New Construction $75
- Accessory Structure, Addition, Remodel $40
- Fence $25
- Other $25
- New Construction $150
- Accessory Structure, Addition, Remodel $80
- Fence $50
- Other $50
Failure to apply for a COA is a residential fine of $150 and a commercial fine of $1,000.
Checks payable to City of Apalachicola and may be dropped off at City Hall or mailed to: 192 Coach Wagoner Blvd. Apalachicola, FL 32320 with attention to Bree Robinson or P&Z.
Do I have to attend the P&Z meeting to have my development approved?
Applicants are highly encouraged to attend the P&Z meeting when their item is discussed, so the P&Z Board members can ask any questions they might have. If questions are asked and the applicant is not present, then P&Z will table the item until further notice.
I got P&Z approval for my development! Am I good to go ahead and begin my project?
No, you must submit the appropriate building permit applications to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that additional documentation may be required by the Building Official.
I got my P&Z approval, but I’m not ready to move forward - how long is my approval good for?
P&Z approvals are valid for one year after issuance. If a building permit has not been obtained within the year, the applicant must re-apply and receive site plan approval again.
I was denied approval at the P&Z meeting – what do I do?
If you feel the P&Z decision was made in error then you have the right to appeal to the City Commission. Appeals must be presented within 30 days; otherwise the decision is final. Please contact City Planner, Bree Robinson, at email@example.com to inquire on this process.
What I want to do does not comply with the City Code for my zone – can I apply for a variance or a special exception?
Variances are granted strictly by proving unnecessary hardship (not financial). This is primarily associated with building in flood zones or other special circumstances. There is a separate application, process, and board for a variance application and the cost is $1,600 to apply. If the variance is not granted this is nonrefundable. The Board of Adjustment must be called for a public hearing, ads will be placed in the paper, signs posted, neighbors contacted, etc.
Special exceptions are determined by the Planning & Zoning Board and go through a similar public notice process – the cost for a special exception is $1,600. Please inquire to the City Planner for more details if you are interested in pursuing a variance or special exception.
I still have questions! Who do I ask?
You can reach out to City Planner, Bree Robinson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 850-323-0985 with any planning related questions.
You can reach out to Building Inspector, at email@example.com with any building permit related questions.
You can reach out to City Hall by calling 850-653-9319 for tree permits or Code Enforcement related questions.