Hi Planners,

For the past 30 years our general plan has included a policy that allows, through an administrative procedure, applicants to build at residential densities higher than allowed per the general plan or zoning category. The desired densities must be comparable to neighboring uses. The justification for including this policy in an early plan was because the enormity of our jurisdiction precluded parcel specific planning. Now, since the advent of GIS, we have transposed our “blob maps” to parcel specific maps, however we still do not have the resources to survey each parcel. We are debating whether to keep this policy.

PROS: Flexibility in a weak economic environment (even before the recession), administrative relief for planner error

CONS: Uncertainty, creates inconsistencies between land use designation, zoning and actual use

Has anyone heard of such a policy?

Do you know of any other mechanism to allow for correction of planner error, (i.e. “My property is an apartment building, why did you designate/zone it single family!” – “you mean to tell me I have to pay (more than $10,000 for a zone change and plan amendment to conform to the standards?”)

Thanks for any help!