Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Has any project been improved because of zoning?

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in a meeting
    Posts
    8,386

    Has any project been improved because of zoning?

    My Town Manager has had it with Councilors not supporting Boards or staff in zoning - that is, not upholding on appeal due to legal bills, doing consent agreement (where you buy your violation) so he asked the question to me that stumped me:

    Has any project been improved because of zoning?

    I gave some push back to say it's a tough call because it's a "what if" question that can't be answered but it is an interesting question...
    plus, the Planning Board has been forced to approve project that do not meet master plans and the like...

    any thoughts?

    Does it really help?

    It makes me want to go to a form-based code actually and he and I talked about what that means so maybe this philosophical discussion will lead to something cool

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Dixie
    Posts
    5,728
    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    My Town Manager has had it with Councilors not supporting Boards or staff in zoning - that is, not upholding on appeal due to legal bills, doing consent agreement (where you buy your violation) so he asked the question to me that stumped me:

    Has any project been improved because of zoning?

    I gave some push back to say it's a tough call because it's a "what if" question that can't be answered but it is an interesting question...
    plus, the Planning Board has been forced to approve project that do not meet master plans and the like...

    any thoughts?

    Does it really help?

    It makes me want to go to a form-based code actually and he and I talked about what that means so maybe this philosophical discussion will lead to something cool
    Yes-it separates uses that don't belong together. It makes developers install such things as site screening and landscaping. This helps migitate the impact on surrounding property and their value. Zoning is often times the trigger to other approvals. Finally zoning forces to developer to actually pay for improvements that would otherwise get shifted to the taypayers. It's a pain at times, but worth it.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,117
    Definitely hard to answer - like asking how would the world be different without the invention of automobiles.

    Zoning and land use regulation is such an ingrained part of the development world/process in most places that it's sometimes taken for granted.

    Well, I guess one way to answer this question would be to find a place analoguous to your place, but with little or no regulation and see the difference(s).

    Also, I think your boss needs to understand that most times in many places the zoning regs are not sufficient to meet the needs the modern environment and therefore not evolved as necessary.

    Lastly, development review is a 60% a political process (or more depending on your proceses), and thereby has intrinsic political gaming and constitutent placation.

    Hope the above helps.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    735
    In a word, yes.. well conceived zoning tends to improve projects, generally speaking.

    at the most general and basic level, many a project has been improved by different types of Performance Zoning. I've seen many a masterplan, for example, that proposed terrain-inappropriate development, where hillshades had to be retroactively evaluated and plans amended (after 2D-minded architects basically proposed to flatten them, the first time around.. mostly 'cause they were too lazy to check).

    Infrastructure concurrency zoning is another area, where many a proposed sprawlish subdivision had to be amended, reduced or even eliminated whilst they were still glimmers in some developers' eye. (sorry, no water, don't want to build piped water systems? you can't build it)

    contextual overlay zoning, well-applied, has been also quite helpful, unless you actually like things like Trump Soho and the civic warfare it generated.


    (source: Green Village Society for Historical Preservation)

    Also, creative zoning tools like Green Plot/LAI Ratios used in delimiting building mass capacity (Seattle, for example) can be useful.

    We often react badly to zoning because codes are badly conceived or no longer fit for the times. CIAMish mid-20th century, legacy zoning creates all types of problems for our cities. But zoning can be used for both good and bad, and its rather indispensible for everybody whose idea of utopia isn't Houston - which, for the most part, doesn't use regulatory zoning.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,645
    Here in WNY, zoning for floodplains has made newer developments better.

    Much of the town of Amherst, Buffalo's major suburb, lies in a flood plain. The older subdivisions have much more flooding issues than do later subdivisions that were built to mitigate/protect against flooding.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 10
    Last post: 15 Apr 2012, 11:17 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last post: 25 Apr 2008, 11:48 AM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last post: 13 May 2004, 2:15 PM
  4. Replies: 9
    Last post: 27 Jan 2004, 1:38 PM