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Thread: Forgotten zoning: communities that have lost all records of their zoning

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Forgotten zoning: communities that have lost all records of their zoning

    At the jurisdiction where I used to work, one of the incorporated villages had zoning, but they just didn't know what it was. It was what I call a microcity -- about 100 acres, with a population of around 300 -- which, in the early days of its existence, adopted zoning. However, there was no zoning map -- it was lost. There was also no known copies of the zoning code. Supposedly some associated party had a copy, but they had some sort of disagreement with the village administration. When asked to return the code, they didn't; rumor is that it was destroyed.

    The village is built out, and replacing the long-gone code with a new code was never on the agenda; they didn't see the need. Of course, as planners, we can all predict what will happen years from now; some new resident will park an RV in the driveway as a permanent residence for their elderly mother, they'll start a very intrusive home occupation involving auto body work or machinery, build a chain link fence with barbed wire in the front yard, and propose an addition that extends to the property line.

    Anyone else ever hear about a community that has "lost" or "forgotten" its zoning? Legally, what happens when there's a law in place, but nobody knows what it is?

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          Downtown's avatar
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    So - is there even record that there was a zoning code?

    I would think the muni would have to draft a new code, and then vote to abandon the old zoning, and adopt the new.

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    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Not only zoning, but every piece of paper having to do with the incorporation of the "City". We still don't know what to do with them. The county does not want them back. They have been getting all the benefits of being an incorporated city.

    They actually called me the other day asking what their town was zoned. It is just a small village but none the less. It is an issue.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I would say that in that situation they should just "hire" some nearby planning students to do a new zoning code and zoning map (and comp plan while they're at it) for the muni, pro bono, then find a lawyer that needs to do some pro bono work and have it vetted legally.

    Then adopt it and be done.

    I don't want to get into what to do about enforcement, though.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Downtown View post
    So - is there even record that there was a zoning code?
    Supposedly there is, in agendas, minutes, and the enabling ordinance (the "whereas blah blah blah" preamble but not the code), but the code text and maps aren't there.

    Off-topic:
    As an aside, I always wondered about zoning in some of the microcities outside of Kansas City; there were somel incorporated communities on the Kansas side of the border that consisted of just a few blocks; Mission Woods, Westwood Hills, Countryside (now merged into Mission), and others.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Supposedly there is, in agendas, minutes, and the enabling ordinance (the "whereas blah blah blah" preamble but not the code), but the code text and maps aren't there.
    Makes me wonder why they ever adopted zoning to begin with. It sounds like it may have never really been administered at all.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Mtn Woman's avatar
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    Where else could it be?

    In New York State any zoning code or municipal law must be filed with the State's Department of State. Perhaps you have something similar??
    Living and dreaming are two different things-but you can't do one without the other."
    -Malcolm Forbes

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