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Thread: Spot zoning

  1. #1
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Spot zoning

    So as we all know spot zoning is one of those things that citizens sometimes throw up as opposition to a project, and like pornography, most courts dont have a definition for it, but "know it when they see it."

    My City is working on a new zoning map to go with our newly adopted ULDC. We have a few zoning districts for multi-family/apartments. Staff has zoned existing apartments as multi-family, even if it is only one parcel in a sea of residential or commercial. These are all apartments that have existed for at least 10 years and were permitted under our current zoning classification. If the use already exists, is zoning the property for its current use really spot zoning? I have always thought of spot zoning as granting a rezoning to a vacant piece of property that is different than the surrounding uses, i.e. zoning a commercial use in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Am I completely off base here?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    One time I HAD to do a zoning map where the current use was the zone: parcel by parcel. better way is to craft the nonconforming use provisions to accommodate this issue.

  3. #3
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    When we adopted our first zoning map in 2004, we were directed by our Board to match the zoning with the existing use on the property provided it was consistent with the Comp Plan. I don't think that's spot zoning. You're not off base. Don't beat your head on the wall.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  4. #4
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    When we adopted our first zoning map in 2004, we were directed by our Board to match the zoning with the existing use on the property provided it was consistent with the Comp Plan. I don't think that's spot zoning. You're not off base. Don't beat your head on the wall.
    We received similar direction from our Commission, to make as few things as possible nonconforming, easier said than done when currently 70% of the City allows either residential or commercial. Our new ULDC separates out commercial and residential uses, which makes things interesting.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    When we adopted our first zoning map in 2004, we were directed by our Board to match the zoning with the existing use on the property provided it was consistent with the Comp Plan. I don't think that's spot zoning. You're not off base. Don't beat your head on the wall.
    I agree. The key is to make sure the new zoning map is consistent with your Master Plan/Comp Plan/Whatever you call it plan.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    To me it just sounds like you're trying to accurately represent what is on the property and taking into account the property owners rights as far as not making it a nonconforming use. Of course meeting you comprehensive plan like everyone else said is always a key part of it.

    I also think you really will know it when you see it. When you look at a map or proposal and scream WTF (done it) you know you're looking at spot zoning (mine happens to be a 50X100 foot commercial zone on a 100 acre farm - blame it on the last guy).
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  7. #7
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    When we updated our zoning map years ago, we zoned many properties based on the current use, and we wound up with a heavy commercial zoning designation on a property located in a residential area and shown on our future land use plan as low density residential. No surprise that the land backing up to the property--which is used by a dumpster rental business to store unleased dumpsters--has never been developed. Zoning based on existing uses can create problems later, but at the same time, you don't want to create a bunch of non-conforming uses. I guess what I'm trying to say (rather long-windedly) is that I agree with the others here. Go for consistency with your comp plan/master plan and don't sweat too much about spot zoning, but keep an eye out for accidentally creating some of those WTF zoning designations that dvdneal mentioned.

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