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Thread: Conversion (Rezoning) of industrial to high density residential

  1. #1
    Aug 2005
    Irvine, California

    Conversion (Rezoning) of industrial to high density residential

    Iím researching different approaches that suburban cities have developed to evaluate requests to convert light industrial zones (that are built-out, but not blighted or contaminated) to residential zones. Here in Southern California, land zoned for industrial use is now so valuable that, even if not blighted or contaminated, it is now economically feasible to tear down the existing structures and construct new high-density multi-family residential structures in their place.

    So far, I have found the following examples. Some cities approach rezoning applications for conversions on a case-by-case basis. Some cities are more proactive--first determining whether or not industrial properties should be excluded from conversion and then utilizing a set of criteria to evaluate conversion applications submitted for properties not excluded. Other cities develop economic development strategies that recognize the impact of land use policies on the economy and then utilize a set of criteria to evaluate the suitability of proposed conversions of industrial land to other uses. The criteria may simply be a checklist in which a proposed project is ranked according to the attributes of the site. The criteria may be more elaborate, such as a series of questions to be answered about the proposed project where the answers are deliberately not scored to a point system. Some cities analyze their economy; determine where they want to encourage residential development; and then establish residential overlay districts or ďspecific plans.Ē [In California a specific plan may be as general as setting forth broad policy concepts, or as detailed as providing direction to every facet of development from the type, location and intensity of uses to the design and capacity of infrastructure; from the resources used to finance public improvements to the design guidelines of a subdivision.]

    I am interested in hearing about any other approaches that suburban cities have developed to address increasing residential development in areas that are currently zoned for industrial use, built-out, and not blighted or contaminated.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    I wish I could help you. The related planning I have seen is of the after-the-fact variety, in places like Chicago and Portland, where residential encroachment has jeopardized healthy industrial districts and the city is worried about retaining businesses and jobs. I have also worked in Boulder, Colorado, which has no sense of what it is doing when it blindly pursues glorious and sanctified mixed use redevelopment (which we all know is the only car-free and holy urban form in which all persons and their animal companions should live) at the expense of suitable space for businesses. Boulder is rapidly on its way to becoming a bedroom community of Denver and the northwest corridor. But I digress. You have recognized the need to preserve industrial land for your businesses. Congratulations. You are one of the few, and a whole lot better off than most.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
    Jun 2003
    NSW, Australia
    I recently saw examples in SFO and Vancouver of mixed use in light industrial areas.

    In SFO, my understanding is, the former goods rail yards and adjoining areas are being targetted for biotech employment development in a residential mixed used format. To date there has been significant interest in 'artist loft' type developments and the City planners I heard speak on the matter are concerned that there aren't too many artists present and they may end up with a residential precinct in industrial buildings.

    The area in Vancouver is on the southern side of the river (can't recall its name but it is next to where the athletes village for the winter olympics is to be built). There are mixed use light industrial/residential buildings interspersed with warehouses and what appeared to be clean light industry.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
    Nov 2004
    At the dining table
    Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) in the South-East of Dublin have recently, over the last 3-4 years started to encourage a change in the type of uses within an area called Sandyford (SF). SF started out as a small village with a very large industrial estate beside it about 20-25 years ago, approximately 10 years ago the uses changed from industrial to more business park uses. 2 years ago a light rail system opened connecting Sandyford with Dublin City Centre. The tram journey only takes 20 minutes. It is proposed to connect this line up with other new lines in teh future, thus improving the connectivy of the area. Sandymount is also beside the new C ring motorway around the city.

    Aside from this, each County Council has to develop a housing policy, stating for the record how many houses they will provide over the course of the term of their development plan. The Minister for the Environment holds each Council responsible for attaining the goals set out in their housing strategies. DLRCC got a rap over the knuckles for not zoning enough land to acchieve sustainable building targets in their Draft Development Plan. The Minister forced the Councillors to rezone substantially more land. This had tyo be done due to a severe housing crisis in Dublin City. DLRCC is full of Nimbys who dont want increased densities, so a compromise was achieved in terms of designating Sandyford Industrial Estate as an area where higher density residential/mixed use development would be allowed.

    Several applications have been lodged and granted for developments ranging from 8-24 storeys in height. The locals are going bonkers but it must be said that the quality of the developments is very high. The light tram will eventually be turned into a train line, so transport links are good.





    Excuse the breathless style of writing.

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