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Thread: Table of uses

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Table of uses

    Is there a comprehensive list of different uses (bakeries, hotels, cemeteries, etc.) for use in a zoning ordinance? I "think" there might have been either an earlier post on here, or APA had a publication (maybe a PAS report).

    Thanks-

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    For US zoning codes, I haven't seen anything resembling a standard like the use class order system that is uniformly applied in the UK.

    Whatever you do, do NOT use SIC or NAICS codes. They're industry classification systems that are poorly suited for land use classification. I'm writing a comprehensive plan for one community that uses SIC-based classifications in their zoning code. Here's just part of what I wrote in the land use element:


    Permitted uses in the ******** Township zoning resolution are based on are based on Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) categories and definitions. The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system is a series of number codes, created in the 1930s, that attempts to classify all business establishments by the types of products or services they make available. The SIC system categorizes business and employer types – not land uses – and is not intended to be used as the foundation for a zoning code. There are no SIC codes for houses, parks, vacant land, open space or home improvement centers, for instance. (The SIC system was superseded by the North America Industry Classification System (NAICS) in 1997. As with the SIC system, the NAICS is also not intended to serve as a land use classification system.)

    A SIC-based code can also be awkward to administer. It allows all uses under a certain two-digit group of businesses, regardless of their intensity, and restricting those that are not intense yet included under a two-digit group that includes generally disruptive businesses. SIC codes group businesses of a certain type together, but not necessarily of a similar intensity; for example, mobile home dealers are technically in the same SIC group as hardware stores, as are heavy equipment rental and medical equipment leasing. The SIC does not distinguish between microbreweries and massive commercial breweries, a mom-and-pop chocolatier and a large confectionery factory, or a small craft bookbinder and a large commercial bookbinding and printing operation.



    Be careful about getting too granular with the categories of permitted uses. Excruciatingly long lists of permitted uses makes it difficult to accommodate new uses that might be perfectly compatible with the intent of the district, and have a similar or smaller impact as closely related uses, but aren't otherwise permitted in the zoning code. Almost every planner who has been around for more than ten years has dealt with where brewpubs fit in an overly precise zoning code. "Brewing is only permitted in industrial zones, and not commercial zones. Restaurants are permitted in commercial zones, but not industrial zones. The brewing process is kind of like baking, which is permitted in commercial zones, but what if Budweiser comes along with a mega-brewery? Sigh."

  3. #3

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    table of usage.

    How does one define a land use?
    As example, is the land use determined by the nature of the buildings thereon and the actual use of the buildings? Or is the land use determined by the legally provided manner of ownership?

    Single family dwelling residential district. All buildings being single family detached dwellings. What is the land use?

    For complexity, single family dwelling well defined.multifamily dwelling well defined, the two classifications of dwellings being mutually exclusive. Now question of ownership. Condominium ownership, state law permitting condominium ownership of residences, commercial, industrial, office, and other independent uses.

    With detached single family dwellings, under condominium ownership, is the land use single family or multifamily?
    Last edited by dougwarner; 05 Feb 2008 at 2:54 PM. Reason: Enlargement

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I've never seen a comprehensive list of standard uses. In my experience, the number of uses in a use table in most mid- to large-sized communities is far too fine-grained. This results in less flexibility and also makes the zoning hard to understand.

    I've seen them broken out to a crazy level, especially if a zoning change was proposed for a particular parcel to a Town Meeting, in which case the new use is so specifically designed for the proposed development that it sticks out like a sore thumb (and also seems like a repeat of an earlier use with some minor change that differentiates it..)

    I have also seen the use of 100+ land uses as a way to downzone and drive nonconforming uses away. They can stay as their current use (say, liquor store), but if they want to go to a new use, even one with less impact (say, coffee shop) that's a change in use that needs a special permit. If the downzoning was to residential, which it usually is, this makes the commercial uses turn to residential over time.

    My recommendation is to keep the list to 25-50 uses. That's as many as really are needed to make the use impacts clear. Over time the number will probably go up as the zoning code is amended...

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by dougwarner View post
    How does one define a land use?
    As example, is the land use determined by the nature of the buildings thereon and the actual use of the buildings? Or is the land use determined by the legally provided manner of ownership?

    Single family dwelling residential district. All buildings being single family detached dwellings. What is the land use?

    For complexity, single family dwelling well defined.multifamily dwelling well defined, the two classifications of dwellings being mutually exclusive. Now question of ownership. Condominium ownership, state law permitting condominium ownership of residences, commercial, industrial, office, and other independent uses.

    With detached single family dwellings, under condominium ownership, is the land use single family or multifamily?
    I need to clarify: I am not looking to define the uses but rather just a list of permitted/special uses that could occur in the community: jewelry store, grocery store, marina, theater, etc. I have found some interesting examples separating out stormwater facilities.

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