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Thread: Concurrent reviews

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Concurrent reviews

    Does your jurisdiction allow for concurrent review of zoning applications, site plans, etc.? What if one approval depends on another- how is that handled?

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Our Planning Board treats ZBA relief (variances/special exceptions) like it does state permits, that is that they must be obtained before an application can be accepted as complete and any public hearing can begin.

    Typically, ZBA approvals are sought while a project proceeds through our pre-application design review process.

    Rezonings are a different animal....a few different ways they happen under our form of government....

    From a memo we've used to guide people to the process:

    A brief explanation of the zoning amendment process:

    We should start with state laws as they apply to Towns without a charter. In those towns, there are three avenues for consideration and adoption of a zoning amendment by Town Meeting (Legislative Body):
    1) The Governing Body (Board of Selectmen) may propose amendments on its own initiative.
    2) The Planning Board may propose amendments on its own initiative. This also includes any requests for residents seeking changes. Should the Planning Board embrace those amendments, those become Planning Board initiatives.
    3) Citizens may request Legislative Body consideration by filing a petition containing the signatures of at least 25 registered voters. Under the Town Meeting format, the petitioned amendments are reviewed by the Planning Board, and the Planning Board’s recommendation is noted on the amendment when considered by Town Meeting.

    Since the adoption of the Town Charter, Town Meeting only deals with budget issues. All other functions of the Legislative Body become the responsibility of the Town Council, including approving amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. Accordingly, as the Legislative Body, the Town Council can only legally consider amendments to the Zoning Ordinance when presented to them under one of the three avenues listed above.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    We'll never consider a rezone request unless we know the site plan and use proposed, so yes we run them concurrently. Typically:

    -conceptual submittal
    -conceptual review and feedback
    -rezone petition and site plan / plan of operations submittal
    -public hearing
    -rezone action
    -site plan / plan of operations action

  4. #4
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    We sometimes run building permit review concurrent with site plan/zoning review. It is at the risk of the applicant since changes made in the site plan review may require substantial building redesign.

    Subdivision/platting and Site plan review also run concurrent. More often than not.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  5. #5
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    We will run them concurrent, at the risk of the applicant if the rezoning is not approved. But we do not make a decision on the subdivision/site plan until after the rezoning comes into effect. This gives the developers time to work on feedback on the site specific issues early on, while they are waiting for the rezoning to clear Council. In some cases, we need details at the zoning stage to appease neighbours, and will ask for site plan details (especially for redevelopment where higher densities are involved).

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Well, we don't have a site plan review process, per se, but we require a definitive site plan for any rezoning request and we do a zoning review of the site plan for complinace with the applicable bulk regs. Also, our Plan Commission (the body that reviews rezonings) can grant variances, so the projeect doesn't need to go to Zoning Board of Appeals and Plan Commission.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Rezonings and Site Plans

    Considering how a rezoning and a site plan are two distinctly different things, how are you able to justify a site plan at the time of rezoning?

    A rezoning is just a modification of the underlaying development rules. I don't see how a site plan can either support or not support a rezoning request. I want my Zoning Commission to consider only the implications of the rezoning request when they rezone...not what is specifically proposed. The rezoning creates a framework for a multitude of different uses to locate there, a specific site plan is not a review component for this type of request in my opinion.

    My Zoning Commission considers: The comprehensive plan, an area plans, the relationship of adjacent and nearby properties to the subject rezoning and the zoning district code when making a rezoning request. Adding the site plan often times takes the emphasise away from the bigger picture and focuses on that snapshot the site plan creates. I will not discourage a complete site plan and rezoning from occuring together (to expedite process), but I don't require it.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    Considering how a rezoning and a site plan are two distinctly different things, how are you able to justify a site plan at the time of rezoning?

    A rezoning is just a modification of the underlaying development rules. I don't see how a site plan can either support or not support a rezoning request. I want my Zoning Commission to consider only the implications of the rezoning request when they rezone...not what is specifically proposed. The rezoning creates a framework for a multitude of different uses to locate there, a specific site plan is not a review component for this type of request in my opinion.
    I agree. Two points to add: It is unfair to the neighbors because they often think that the proposed site plan is the only thing that can be built. Secondly, half the time the site plan is just speculative or will be amended anyway (at least that's been my experience in Florida)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    We "request" a site plan with zoning changes, but agree that most of the time it doesn't turn out that way in the end. Our code is performance-based, and in order to do many projects an overlay is required. That's where we see the detailed site plans, and if the elected officials are uncomfortable with a particular zoning change that's a much safer way to go. Otherwise, site plans aren't accepted for review by the site plan reviewers until after the zoning change/variance/etc. has been approved.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I typically see, "by-rite" plans submitted in concurrence with the "this is what we want the zoning to be plans"

    You can really make by rite plans look horrendous when you try hard enough.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    my experience has always been: concurrent review is acceptable however it is ALWAYS at the risk of the applicant who may absorb additional costs of changes to the site plan due to the zoning.

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