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Thread: Rezoning Process

  1. #1
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    Rezoning Process

    In Maryland there are essentially two ways a developer/property owner can rezone a piece of property. First He/she can apply for a zoning map amendment that requires proof of a change in the character of the neighborhood (if your local government enforces the current zoning ordinance this shouldn't occur) or a mistake was made (and we all know planners never make them). In short rezonings based on the "change or mistake" rule are almost non-existent. The other option is through a zoning text amendement that involves the developer/property owner cozying up to his/her council member to support a zoning change (better known as spot zoning). We are looking for a process that could be described as a developer/property owner sponsored small area plan. This process would avoid the necessity for the developer/property owner to prove a "change or mistake" by essentially providing for a new small area plan that examines the impacts of the proposed rezoning, provides justification for the proposed rezoning, and allows for adequate public participation in the process similar to what happens when planners update zoning. I should mention that we are well aware of the potential for small area plans that are "made as instructed". Anyone know of such a process?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    We have used neighborhood plans to accomplish this result. The neighborhood plan contains much more detail on street and lot layouts, and uses, that the city's comprehensive plan. It is not limited to a single property, but could be as small an area as 200-300 acres.
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  3. #3

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    This is one reason why specific plans are used in CA and NV and probably some other places. Some of the CA planners on Cyburbia can probably help more, but essentially, a specific plan is developed - through a process provided for in your ordinance - jointly by the community and the developer, with public input. Upon adoption it then serves as basis for subsequent zoning decisions. Its like a PUD, I guess, but with joint planning of the development.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    We have a level of plans called the Zonal Development Plan( ZDP) which specifies the land use at 1: 5000 scale. Mostly for private sector development. Instituions and only special categories are developed by the government.
    Now with new techniques of mixed use and structure plans( the comprehensive plan methodology is becoming passe now with every passing day) the Action Plans are done with details primarily showing circulation network and plot boundaries and zoning color code. Rest is in the regulations book.
    For change of land use the procedure is clearly stated which includes change in the map and on records. But it's a time consuming and torturous process. People prefer to violate and use the courts to stay the plan enforcement unfortunately.

    This level of plans support the larger comprehensive plan and are backed legally the specific Act.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    I hope I'm understanding what you are looking for. In Louisiana, amendments are often done by "area study". It would be called by a councilmember (usually at a citizens' request), and then the planning staff would recommend what the zoning should be for each parcel within a large contiguous area. It was a chance to correct specific areas due to a very old zoning ordinance, but also allowed individuals to get zoning they wanted (i.e., light commercial in a developing area, etc.). It wasn't a PUD or anything like that, just a chance to focus on a specific area due to an outside request rather than staff's concerns, and would then go through the normal public hearing process.

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