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Thread: Ordinance organization

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Ordinance organization

    I am looking to settle a little debate I’m having with some of our decision-makers. I am afraid that the placement of amendments to our zoning code may create problems. For instance, the planning commission worked hard and long to come up with a big fat road standards chapter, and it is about to be approved. However, they have attached it to the subdivision ordinance. Doesn’t this mean it will only apply to subdividers? Why would someone looking to develop his land without subdividing review the subdivision ordinance? I am quite sure they intend for the standards to apply to all development, and they don’t seem to think it matters where in the hierarchy the regulations are placed, but I am afraid a developer could sidestep them completely if not subdividing. We also have detailed sign regulations which, as far as I’m concerned, apply almost nowhere in town since they were placed in the Resort Zone chapter. Am I crazy? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    If it is a subdivision ordinance, it typically only applied to subdividing of land. A simple fix - retitle the ordanance "land division AND DEVELOPMENT CONTROL"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Many communities in Utah have combined their highway, zoning, and subdivsion ordiannce into one Land Development Code.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Maximov... nope, you aren't crazy. I would interpret it the same way as you.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
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    Yep. Your concerns are justified. I ran into a similar predicament in my fair city and dealt with it by updating the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance and combining them into one city development code. It took a fair amount of work but was well worth it and development reviews flow much more smoothly now.

    For the short term, heed Chet's advice and retitle the subdivision ordinance (and probably edit the purpose/introductory section, too) to clarify that it applies to all development (pay close attention as to how your city/county defines "development" and try to update any cross-references).

    Good luck

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    You guys are the BEST, thanks! Off to meeting...

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    yeah, you gotta retitle that thing. Another idea, you could amend your other ordinances to reference the requirements in that ordinance. I've seen cities do that with their drainage ordinance. It ain't pretty but it works.

    That signage thing is really funny though!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    That signage thing is really funny though!
    I thought so, too- especially when a previous administration suggested I ought to comply with it on my commercially zoned property (no, I didn't take advantage of the error- it was a question of less than three inches, and long in existence).

    I ran into a similar predicament in my fair city and dealt with it by updating the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance and combining them into one city development code.
    That would solve a lot of confusion, especially if all the annexation stuff was in there, too.

    Update: they didn't retitle the subdivision ordinance, but they did make the road standards a completely independant document from the others- hooray.


    Thanks, all!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by maximov
    Update: they didn't retitle the subdivision ordinance, but they did make the road standards a completely independant document from the others- hooray.
    That would have been my suggestion.

    Canadian Context

    How I've done it in the past is to empower the community to establish standards for certain items in the enabling land use plan, then adopt a By-law that refers to a set of standards by reference. This way you can modify the standards to correct errors/fix loopwholes/address engineering issues without requiring an amendment to any By-laws. You just have to make sure that the amendments to the standards are done well in advance of receiving an applicaiton and not to amend them in a prejudicial manner also amendments should be based on sound design standards.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    This way you can modify the standards to correct errors/fix loopwholes/address engineering issues without requiring an amendment to any By-laws.
    Ah, so an amendment to such a standard can be done without all the hoopla of public hearings and advertisement? That makes sense (if I understand you)!

    Thanks.

  11. #11
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by maximov
    Ah, so an amendment to such a standard can be done without all the hoopla of public hearings and advertisement? That makes sense (if I understand you)!

    Thanks.

    Check State Law, this may be a Canada thing. I know its done in the US for building codes and such, but caution is advised.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  12. #12
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by maximov
    Ah, so an amendment to such a standard can be done without all the hoopla of public hearings and advertisement? That makes sense (if I understand you)!

    Thanks.
    That is the point, that the By-law really only empowers the community to establish generally accepted standards and the standards can be used as a "big stick" at times or as a "switch" to persuade a developer. Plus weird situations come up that you could not have foreseen, but have the general tools and guidance to react to. To change the standards and the guidelines required a motion of Council, but no public notice or need for public comment or input.

    On the legality of it, our lawyer did not like it too much, but everyone was doing it and it was standing up to appeals and court challenges. He would have preferred your situaiton, but saw the practicality of how it had evolved in the province.

    Here is the text from the Community Development Plan / Offiical Plan that enabled it:

    It is a proposal of Council to ensure that all future streets are designed or approved by the Province or the City engineers in accordance with Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) design standards. Table U.A.5. and U.B.I., contained in Appendix 1 and taken from the Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads, present the characteristics and alignment guidelines for urban streets. Table A.5a. and Table B.1.3. are taken from the Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads and summarize the characteristics and alignment controls for rural roads. Figure U.A.5. presents the relationship of the various street classifications.

    This proposal is consistent with the City of Miramichi Developer’s Guidelines manual which requires all subdivisions to be serviced with roads generally designed
    and constructed in accordance with the “Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads” published by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) and the City’s “Standard Municipal Specification”.


    In the legal language of the legislation, a "proposal" is a binding action item that establishes the decison making framework. (ie it is an objective or goal as used in other framworks) Also note the use of the word "generally".

    Here is how it was implemeted in the Subdivision By-law

    10.3 In any subdivision, new streets shall be constructed to standards as
    approved by resolution of Council.

    Within this By-law there were also minimum standards for road width and grades, but not for constrcution standards(ie 6 inches of x type gravel shall be used as a base, with x inches of asphalt sealant, that is in the guidelines)
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Check State Law, this may be a Canada thing. I know its done in the US for building codes and such, but caution is advised.
    Our council treated the road standards as a land use ordinance, with hearings and etc., so I imagine they would do the same for any amendments to them.

    Thank you giff, donk, and all.

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