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Thread: Questions regarding specific plans

  1. #1
    Member
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    Questions regarding specific plans

    I have two questions that are interrelated.

    1) When a specific plan is adopted for a new development and that specific plan establishes new land use designations, do those new designations function as new General Plan designations, new Zoning designations, or both? In my situation, these new designations are unique from any existing General Plan or Zoning designations.

    2) What is the appropriate way to display a specific plan and it's designations on a Zoning Map & General Plan Map. Should the Zoning/General Plan map display the specific plan designations? Should one or both of the maps refer to the specific plan area as "specific plan", and not display the designations?

    I hope my question is not too convoluted. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I'm not sure I entirely understand your questions, but I will try. A Specific Plan (what we call a Sector Development Plan - or just Sector Plan - here) is a more focused treatment of a particular area, fine tuning the zoning regulations in a way that addresses issues unique to that locale. The General Plan does not have this kind of detail, usually, and is also not updated as frequently. For us, these areas are designated as SU-2 zoning in the Master Plan, which tells developers to then seek out the Sector Plan to see what specific zoning regulations apply. In some cases, the zoning regs are designations outlined in the Master Plan, but often they have been modified, or represent entirely new designations. A few areas have adopted a form-based code/conventional zoning hybrid approach in their Sector Plan, for example, and you won't find any of those definitions and diagrams in the Master Plan. That should address your Q #1

    As for the second question, again, since the Master Plan may not be updated very regularly, we simply identify areas that have Sector Plans as SU-2 which indicates there is an additional plan dealing with that area in more detail. If another Sector Plan comes on line and it is not designated as SU-2 on the Master Plan map (because it is too recent, for example), its really just a dance for us. Developers will inquire about zoning at some point and, if they have missed it, the department will point them to the Sector Plan for details. All of these publications are available on our city website, too, so its pretty easy to figure out what areas have Sector Development Plans.

    Hope that helps.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
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    The problem I'm having with designating specific plan areas simply as SP, for example, is that half of our city is covered by specific plans. So, if I designate all those areas as SP on our General Plan/Zoning Map, I will be referrencing our specific plans quite often just to determine the designation of a property and the map becomes somewhat useless. Alternatively, if I list the designations of each specific plan on the map, I end up with about eight different lists of specific plan designations and the map becomes quite cluttered. I suppose either way has its positives and negatives.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    You have just discovered the problem with planning by site specific application. The ideal thing to do, depending on the number of Site Specifics is to do an assessment to see if the designations can be lumped together based on commonalities of the developments that have occurred. I would also suggest not being afraid of creating legal non conformities in terms of development standards, as you have demonstrable proof of what was there.

    As for how the designation relates to zoning, depends on your enabling legislation, but based on my experience you may end up having to create custom zones for the sites if the ones you already have don't implement the intent of teh Plan amendment.

    Where I currently work we have approximately 600 distinct amendments and probably another 50-60 amendments that override many of the 600. We also have around 1600 site specific zonings.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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