Planning & Zoning
City Planning is the coordinating of developing land for commercial, residential, institutional and recreational uses, based on the zoning maps.
Port Arthur's Planning Department is more than 40 years old. Its primary function is to monitor land use and observe how land is subdivided, in regards to the use (zoning). These uses are classified as zoning districts. Many persons are familiar with - "SF" for (single-family). There is "R" (retail), "C" for (commercial) and "I" for industrial. Industrial use areas are comprised of cumulative zoning that should take all uses except housing. Single-family housing, unlike in the days of old is not readily permitted in an industrial area due to the activities that are in progress and typically have emissions, noise or odor with the production of goods. This is why planning was promoted in cities because of the industrial era with a theme to promote health and safety.
- Protect and defend the rights of our customers - such that customer service is effective and efficient, yielding satisfaction to (internal and external customer).
- Promote a prosperous and sound economic development decisions, with our contractors, builders and partners (internal and external).
- Preserve the City's environment, historic legacy, diverse heritage and neighborhood integrity such that records will show evidence of our progress over the centuries.
As communities grew since World War II, other departments were associated with planning. Departments such as Public Works (more so streets and other infrastructure projects-water/waste-water), Engineering (design of structures and soil compaction), Building Inspections, Fire and Police all synchronize with the Planning Division to utilize the Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan is a guide that dictates future uses in contrast to existing uses based on population, socio-economic changes, cultural diversity, hence - transportation and employment needs shall be appeased in line with the demand for housing and retail structures. It's stated that single-family houses are not allowed in "I" zoning districts as it is not part of Port Arthur's present Zoning Ordinance. However, in some sections of the country where land is expensive or scarce, in accordance with their Consolidated Plan (for affordable housing) these "I" areas are developed. Also since this was done in the past, where health, safety and environmental concerns are minimal - we also are rebuilding destroyed houses only. Some residents have chosen to relocate in other areas of the City.