Planning Department

Mission Statement

To identify the unique characteristics and resources of Ocean Springs, and to provide for their preservation and enhancement, with the balance between quality of life and economic growth.

Organization Structure

The former Community Development and Planning Office has been divided into two distinct departments: the Building Department and the Planning Department.

Planning & Grants Department

  • Carolyn Martin, Director of Planning & Grants
  • Wade Morgan, City Planner
  • Dawn Underwood, Planning & Grants Assistant

The Planning Department is responsible for the administration and implementation of the City Code related to the development of land in consideration of eligible uses, intensity, and impact of proposed uses, density, and environmental impact. The primary goal is the cohesive development among surrounding properties and efficient use of city infrastructure. The Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Subdivision Regulations of the City are the primary regulations used to guide these determinations and recommendations. Commercial proposals are reviewed for form and function per the adopted Design Review Ordinance, with the Planning Department serving as administrator for the process involving Building, Public Works, Fire, and Police review.

The administration of the Planning Commission is managed by the Planning Department, providing recommendations to the Board of Aldermen based on the adopted codes and regulations. The Planning Department is also responsible for the administration of the Historic Preservation Ordinance and the Ocean Springs Historic District Design Guidelines, which are reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission; as well as any requested variances related to development, which are reviewed by the Zoning and Adjustment Board.

Community Plans 

The Comprehensive Plan, Historic District Design Guidelines, and other documents are available for pick up at the Planning Department or click here to access available electronic versions to view the City of Ocean Springs Comprehensive Plan.


As the city applies for and manages City grant-funded projects, the Planning & Grants Administrator is responsible for the oversight of this activity from application to close. At this time, there are no grants available for public application.