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Thread: Residential in ANY zoning district?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Residential in ANY zoning district?

    My city has a typical Euclidean zoning districts and has had this since late 1920's so the development pattern is pretty consistent with the zoning. Our commercial districts are pretty much at capacity - there are redevelopment opportunities but very few vacant properties.

    A Planning Commissioner wants to make amendments to the zoning code that would allow all residential uses in all districts (including commercial and industrial). At first he said that the purpose of this amendment would be to eliminate any issues concerning non-conforming housing and mortgages, but after further dialogue he said he thinks we should allow new construction residential (single family to multi-family) anywhere in the City. I used the corner of the mall parking lot as an example, and asked if he thought a single family home should be allowed there, and he said "Sure, why not?!". My response was because of traffic, noise, trash, etc. complaints that we would surely receive. He said that it would be their fault for building there in the first place.

    FWIW, we will be starting a review of the future land use map in the near future, and have considered elements of form based code in certain corridors. Other than concerns I mentioned above, I think we need to get a better grasp of our existing land uses as well as future, and in the meantime we only have limited property for development, so my inclination is to not support this request.

    Anyone else out there with Euclidean zoning allow residential in all districts? Have you encountered any problems with it due to conflicting uses? Any thoughts in general? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    No, I've never heard of any community with Euclidian zoning doing that. I sense someone has an agenda here, that they've not told you about.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Like ^^he^^ said, there's a hidden agenda somewhere. The comment about "their fault" for building there makes some sense, but generally our society doesn't buy that excuse for things like this. Ex: why do we have minimum standards for rental properties, it's "their fault" for living there, etc.

    I would advise against this for a number of reasons. 1st, what quality of housing is going to be built in a mall parking lot, next to a mini-storage place, etc. If you want quality housing it has to go in quality locations. 2nd, what about fire protection. Ask any firefighter and they will tell you it's easier to fight a fire when no one is in a building (mini-storage) vs. the chance of someone living there. Now you've kicked their response-requirements into a whole other category. 3rd, what about utility easements and other unforeseen events? Can you build a housing development in industrial land 500 yards from anywhere else, probably? But it's not the same in a built-out area.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Like ^^he^^ said, there's a hidden agenda somewhere.

    Can you build a housing development in industrial land 500 yards from anywhere else, probably? But it's not the same in a built-out area.
    My take, aside from the valid public safety concerns, is that you are adding Dante's 7 layers of...complexity...on to your existing regs, which are likely already unwieldy. The tine it would take for hearings and workshops and staff sick leave could be used to craft a whole new code.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    No, I've never heard of any community with Euclidian zoning doing that. I sense someone has an agenda here, that they've not told you about.
    Yah, I'm not naive to assume there wasn't an agenda.... I just can't figure it out

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Many Ontario municipalities have eliminated strictly commercial zones in favour of Mixed-use zones. A mixed use zone will generally allow all commercial uses and medium-to-high density residential (the definition of medium-to-high density will vary from place to place). In some cases it may allow light industrial uses that are compatible with an urban environment too (no outside storage, no noise/fumes etc.). This will allow for the redevelopment of downtown areas into residential areas as well allow plazas and malls outside the downtown area to redevelop as mixed-use nodes if the economics make sense. It wouldn't normally allow these area to redevelop as low density suburban areas.

    The most famous example of this is the “Kings” neighbourhoods in Toronto where virtually all land-use regulations were abandoned in favour of stricter built-form regulations. In other words what was in the building was not as important as the size, shape and design of the building. This lead to a huge boom in residential construction in the two areas it was applied to.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Howl View post
    Many Ontario municipalities have eliminated strictly commercial zones in favour of Mixed-use zones. A mixed use zone will generally allow all commercial uses and medium-to-high density residential (the definition of medium-to-high density will vary from place to place). In some cases it may allow light industrial uses that are compatible with an urban environment too (no outside storage, no noise/fumes etc.). This will allow for the redevelopment of downtown areas into residential areas as well allow plazas and malls outside the downtown area to redevelop as mixed-use nodes if the economics make sense. It wouldn't normally allow these area to redevelop as low density suburban areas.

    The most famous example of this is the “Kings” neighbourhoods in Toronto where virtually all land-use regulations were abandoned in favour of stricter built-form regulations. In other words what was in the building was not as important as the size, shape and design of the building. This lead to a huge boom in residential construction in the two areas it was applied to.
    This is entirely the right approach. With the exception of context-insensitive transportation infrastructure, few places have truly incompatible land uses anymore. Of course, as thoroughfares pass into a more urban environment, they need to be slowed and calmed, and a single-family house there is ridiculous. But, coding for a more urban character with a mix of uses in existing commercial areas, especially those well-served by transit, should be a no-brainer.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    Anyone else out there with Euclidean zoning allow residential in all districts? Have you encountered any problems with it due to conflicting uses? Any thoughts in general? Thanks in advance!
    The city where I cut my teeth allowed single-family residential as a permitted use in every zone, commercial, industrial whatever. And we had some heavily industrial areas. The reasons for this were complex, but suffice to say that the outcomes were problematic at best. Also, existing residential had to be specifically buffered. Not residential zoning - residential use. I did a lot of weird buffering. I would strongly advise against your city adopting this type of use, it's a killer.

    PM me for the specific city (it's all still on the books) and I can give you some specific places where it has been troublesome to use as examples if you want to. Good Luck!
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    My fair city allows, and has allowed for many years, SFR in commercial zones and multi-family zones, "subject to the R-1 standards." Not in industrial, park, or open space zones (or in the marine waterway zone, for that matter, although I recently have thought about encouraging houseboats).

    It has not been a problem or issue.

    We finally recently allowed mixed use in all commercial zones.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    "Sure, why not?!".

    Any thoughts in general?
    Because as soon as they move in they will complain of nuisance. Zoning can be a tool that allows us to head off problems before they occur, but it only works if we use it [properly].

    That being said, I personally feel zoning has gotten way over complicated and should be much more giving in general. But certain uses just donít mix. Residential and heavy com/ind is one (imo).
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    I think there has to be a third (or fourth or fifth) option here. I don't think typical Euclidean zoning with separation of uses serves a city well, nor does a blanket allowance of single family homes in homes. Mixed uses can work, but need to be PLANNED well. Thus our job I guess. There are plenty of options in between that are too great to list here, but consider either form-based coding, or the use of PUD/PRDs to ensure that mixed uses are permitted, provided they meet standards set forth in your bylaws. There's nothing wrong with residential units in close proximity to a shopping mall. Rather, they should be encouraged. The work and planning is to make sure they're not plopped down like monopoly pieces but rather that they work cohesively.....

  12. #12
    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    sounds like they're interested in a pyramid zoning code. Professionally I don't believe that is good to allow people to make THAT bad of a decision on their own. Going back to our police power to protect health welfare and safety I think it is a bad idea to allow residential in industrial. Aside from that combo I think most other uses can be compatible on a case by case basis. A form based code may be useful. From what I've seen, most form based codes do regulate use in one form or another. I've never seen a solely form based code with no use regulation included.

    Long story short: probably the only combo that I would prohibit is industrial and residential. The rest might work, depending on how it's designed and how nuisances are mitigated.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    The places I have worked have generally allowed residential in commercial zones (not as much in the industrial ones), more or less. It seems to work OK in a densely developed area. There is one case I know of where a large artists building is in an industrial area and it causes some strife, but its probably generally still an OK situation, IMHO. Besides, that's an industrial zone not a commercial one.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CDT View post
    Long story short: probably the only combo that I would prohibit is industrial and residential. The rest might work, depending on how it's designed and how nuisances are mitigated.
    Half Way Homes work in industrial zones. Industrial zones include among the various uses storage of hazardous materials. A local judge told me so.

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