History of the RPCGB

In 1962 the Federal Aid Highway Act indicated general funds for highway construction in urban areas might be curtailed if the projects were not a part of a regional plan. Discussions in 1963 among local official, business leaders, community organizations and representatives began. The result was enabling legislation for the formation of the planning commission (September, 1963). This enabling legislation confined commission powers to advisory functions including planning and research for the region, planning assistance as requested and application, acceptance and use of grants and assistance from the federal government.

history-featuredJefferson County municipalities appointed representatives to the commission in October, 1963. November 5, 1963, the Birmingham-Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission was established as a result of the City Council of Birmingham and Jefferson County Commission vote to designate Jefferson County as a planning region. November 21 the rules of procedure were adopted and the Executive Committee was elected. The first regular meeting was held January 22, 1964.

The initial director was Robert (Bob) Juster, appointed May, 1964 with a budget of $78,500. The first office was on the 15th floor of the 2121 Building on Eighth Avenue North. It was opened in July, 1964 and remained in that location until 1973.

Thirty-one government units participated in the Commission, 99.96% of the region. The committees consisted of Budget and Finance and Personnel. By 1965, federal aid to urban areas had produced a proliferation of urban programs. The 1966 Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act attempted to bring order to the chaos by requiring all applications for Federal loans and grants from local agencies to be submitted to an area-wide planning agency for review and comment. In June, 1967, the Birmingham-Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission was certified as the reviewing agency. Initial members were just Jefferson County municipalities. In March 1967 the Bureau of Census expanded the metropolitan area to include Shelby and Walker counties. It was anticipated Blount and St. Clair would be added following the 1970 Census. So in 1968, discussions were initiated with surrounding county officials to explore the possibility of a multi-county planning organization. By April 24, 1969, the one county Birmingham-Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission became the five county commission including Jefferson, Shelby, Walker, Blount and St. Clair counties.

In September, 1969, the role of the planning commission expanded to include state planning and programming, administering federal programs and project review and comment. In July, 1970, Governor Brewer signed an executive order subdividing the state into eight planning and development districts. RPC was considered District Three with the inclusion of Chilton County. The old BRPC was dissolved and a new one under the same name was established January 28, 1971 which included Chilton County.