Community Development

Our Mission

The Community Development (CD) Department at SEARP&DC provides a wide range of professional administrative services to the seven southeastern Alabama counties: Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, and Houston.

All of the CD staff members are specifically trained and experienced in grant writing, grant administration, planning, and economic development. Our department has proven to be one of the most productive Community Development departments in Alabama, having written several of the highest-rated Community Development Block Grant applications in the State of Alabama. Services provided by our staff include:

Grant Services

Mapping Services

Planning Services

Technical Assistance


Joint Land Use Study (JLUS)

Planning Services

Comprehensive Planning

This activity involves extensive study and evaluation of a community’s past, current and projected situation with the goal of establishing progressive yet obtainable objectives over an extended period of time, usually twenty years. SEARP&DC provides complete comprehensive planning services including but not limited to application and document preparation, support mapping preparation, hearing administration, funding administration, technical assistance, and citizen participation surveys. SEARP&DC may be able to utilize CDBG Planning Fund grants or other grant sources to assist in the funding of planning projects, depending on program requirements and jurisdictional resource

Land Use Planning

This activity involves the extensive study and evaluation of a community’s present land usage and seeks to provide a specific mechanism for future land use that will enhance and develop the community.

Zoning Ordinance Creation and Revision

Zoning ordinances are tools to promote orderly development and growth and reduce hazards to life and property in accordance to the Code of Alabama for the general benefit of residents of municipalities. Zoning ordinances establish districts or zones within which permitted and special uses are established as are regulations governing lot size, building bulk, placement, and other development standards in accordance with the community’s master or comprehensive plan.

Subdivision Regulation Preparation

Regulations governing the development of residential or commercial subdivisions are an important part of an overall community development plan.

Transportation Planning

SEARP&DC administers the Southeast Alabama Rural Planning Organization (RPO), which provides transportation consultation services and basic transportation planning to the non-Metropolitan Planning Organization portion of the Region.

CDBG Planning Fund Grant Preparation and Administration

All projects, whether large or small must be planned properly in order to prevent poor performance. The preparation of planning grant applications provides the means by which these planning efforts may be funded.

Emily A. VanScyoc

Emily A. VanScyoc

Deputy Director / Community & Economic Development Director

Economic Development Specialist II/Loan Manager: Rachel Armstrong

Mapping Services

Mapping services are available for communities in the SEARP&DC region. These services include:

  • Infrastructure mapping of sewer, water, gas, electric, and drainage facilities.
  • County, state, and federal transportation maps.
  • Redistricting maps depicting district boundaries and associated demographics
  • Zoning maps.
  • Census Geography maps showing tract and block data.
  • Other customized maps depend on a community’s needs.

Technical Assistance

The professional staff members of the Community Development Department offer all of the communities in the Southeast Alabama region technical assistance in areas of planning, grant writing and administration, data collection and analysis, and other community development needs. Each staff member is available to meet with community and business leaders to discuss community problems and define the various resources available for assistance.

Alabama State Data Affiliate

SEARP&DC is an Alabama State Data Center Affiliate that provides convenient access to census and other socioeconomic data. For more information please contact:

Rachel Armstrong, 334-794-4093 x 1411

Chris Rush, 334-794-4093 x 1407