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Thread: Redevelopment

  1. #1

    Redevelopment

    I am looking for local government zoning or land development codes that are supportive of redevelopment. Anyone know of such???

    Gail Easley

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Interesting question. I can think of one off the top of my head - historic building codes which set realistic requirements for restoration, vs. requiring buildings to meet conventional standards. As much as codes, it may be other things we do which encourage redevelopment - economic incentives for one. We should also be aware of the amount of vacant land we make available. A limited supply makes redevelopment more feasible.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    There are many communities that emphasize redevelopment, but few zoning codes. Any smaller community within a metro area, with no raw land available, is into redevelopment. Also towns where annexation is not an alternative.

    A flexible redevelopment attitude is more critical than specific zoning provisions. But for the specifics, you tweak and emphasize the noncomforming use provisions, setbacks by the established building lines rather than set distances, flexibility with parking and landscaping, permit PUD's down to 1/2 acre or so in built-up areas, and a non-traditional district or two emphasizing the existing land use pattern of mixed uses.

    A huge zoning idiosyncrasy are light industrial standards. Often designed to foster picture-perfect resrach and development parks, the majority of I-1 districts are next to town along the tracks. A heavy commercial/light industrial mixed use district better reflects the real situation.

  4. #4
    City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, is also interested in zoning regulations to support revitalizing an existing area. Current residents hope to increase the number of single family homes in some areas (areas have been dominated by absentee landlords owning poor quality apartments), support revitalizing a declining commercial "main street" via some mixed uses, and deal with a heavy concentration of churches that overload the streets with parking on Wednesdays and Sundays, while leaving vast expanses of empty lots on all other days. We've already tweaked things like setbacks and parking standards; more is needed. Any ideas gratefully accepted.

  5. #5
    Zoning is not the answer. It is a piece of the complicated redevelopment picture, but is pretty minor. Redevelopment takes an honest commitment by the political leadership for change. I would suggest a health dose of community visioning. Figure out where you want to be. Then, implement some really good design guidelines in conjunction with some programs to foster private investment. Offer matching grant programs for landscaping, painting, windows, benches, etc...It is sort of a carrot and stick trick. The most important thing you can do is become visible in the community, meet the local shop keepers, be the defacto PR person for your jurisdiction. Zoning got us into a mess in this country, we should not use it to bail us out.

  6. #6
    First I'd like to say that Ft. L needs some backbone to use its property taxing policies to get things cleaned out there.

    Second, I guess I'm going to have to defend zoning again. I work with lots of planning commissions who expect zoning to be some kind of magic bullet that is going to magically produce a built environment that has everyone gasping at its magnificence, while never having to so much as deny a request.

    Think of zoning as a stop light. The developer pulls up to the light and stops. Planners check out the car for working brakes, emissions, clean the winshield, etc. Once the basics are affirmed to be roadworthy, the commission can then give the green light, and the developer goes on his merry way. The stoplight cannot do a damn thing about the shape, or the color of the car, there are constitutional limits to how far the public can impinge upon the individual in matters of private property.

    The real missing element is the political will to get something done. Forget consensus, just getting one thing done is a difficult enough task given the kind of decision makers our political process manufactors. They are all looking for that one magic bullet that will make everyone happy and cost no money.

    For example, I was told a certain person would be good for a position as an APA regional representative, and now I find out she has not even a passing knowlege of implimentation. Next time I'll have to be more dilligent in researching the backgrounds of people up for election.

  7. #7
    Dear Washington Planner, Thanks for your answer, but actually, Fort Lauderdale's redevelopment area (like that of many Florida cities) has had one community visioning session after another. Some have been offered by the City, others by the nearby design departments of universities. At the current time, the City has been operating a community based planning effort to work with neighborhoods to identify their goals (improved code enforcement, more police patrols -- the whole gamut of services. This particular area asked for better zoning, among other requests.) While this has been going on, the Governor's office -- for reasons known only to the Governor -- has designated the area as one of his 'Front Porch Florida' areas. These are low income areas where a neighborhood group or groups works directly with the Gov's office -- bypassing local government -- and the group develops a list of programs that the Gov's office is supposed to approve and fund. Unfortunately, most of the 'Front Porch' communities have paid out expenses up front to do crime fighting or paint-up-fix up programs, and the Gov's office has advised later that many of the expenses weren't approved after all... To add to the problem, Fort L's redevelopment area recently experienced the shock of having a fraud committed by a group that bought up run down apartments and kept selling them back and forth among themselves at every increasing prices (much higher than the property values) and then defaulting on the mortgages. The banks took over the properties and low income renters who had paid their rent were, nonetheless, evicted.

    In short (though this isn't short, is it?!), the community has strongly suggested to city staff that they've been all charetted and studied out and they want action to stop things like the mortgage fraud. The area's zoning dates from the 1940's, when pyramiding zoning was the thing, which explains why single family houses were approved to be built in industrially zoned areas now filled with warehouses. Zoning is not the only thing that got this area into its mess, but good zoning will be one of the ways to achieve the goals this community has identified in its many self studies. The land in the community is of value, being near both an interstate and an attractive river; we are still getting requests from outside property owners to rezone parts of the residential and business zoned property to industrial. It will be difficult to offer a "carrot" to someone to get him/her to fix up some apartments that they've been hoping to tear down and replace with a warehouse. And many of the absentee owners of low income, barracks-like apartments have made very good money out of the area for a very long time, without so much as planting a tree next to a building. The residents want the limited amount of city funds available to them to go into sewer, water, parks -- not into "carrots" to convince outside property owners to replace stenciled "no loitering" signs on buildings with more attractive signage, or plant a few shrubs. I think I am going to recommend to our 'Front Porch community we will do with this area what has been done citywide, and require property owners to retrofit some landscaping, improved signage and lighting, and institute a menu of options to remedy row after row of bleakly colored, prison-like boxes by requiring alternating colors, if nothing else. (In fact, at the charette I held in March, the community asked me to make it illegal to have anything colored green in the community if it wasn't a plant -- because row after row of these human warehouses are painted a militaristic spinach green.) I guess the color resists dirt well.....

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