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Thread: Land use code overhaul: change the zoning districts?

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Land use code overhaul: change the zoning districts?

    We're re-doing our Comp Plan right now and then reforming our landuse code. As a part of this, we have created new land use "sections" (akin to zoning districts). We've reached an impasse regarding our existing zoning districts.

    Currently we have 13 different districts (for a town of 3200 people) some of which have been created to serve a specific development.
    Now, I think that we should re-do our zoning map to match the new districts. I would keep the PUD designations as they have their specific regulations, and perhaps create an overpay for the existing built-up part of town.
    Our consultant has floated the idea of keeping our current zoning districts but applying the new districts to newly developed areas.

    What are your thoughts? What has been done before? I want to simplify things by not adding the new districts to the current map, but would rezoning the entire town create a complicated quagmire the likes of which would kill me.
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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN;577029
    We're re-doing our Comp Plan right now and then reforming our landuse code. As a part of this, we have created new land use "sections" (akin to zoning districts). We've reached an impasse regarding our existing zoning districts.

    Currently we have 13 different districts (for a town of 3200 people) some of which have been created to serve a specific development.
    ..., but would rezoning the entire town create a complicated quagmire the likes of which would kill me.
    As long as you don't do a "form-based code" mirroring Denver down the road, you are in good shape.

    Nonetheless, I disagree with the "consultant" - you don't need that many districts. IMHO clean it up, esp the spot zoning mistakes of the past. Do the work to show stakeholders that their rights aren't changing, you are just cleaning up the map to be more efficient to save money and to be consistent. I did similar in one of my towns and as soon as folks realized I wasn't rezoning to raise their taxes they were fine with it. You'll have to have some conversations with property owners, but you'll be happier in the long run.

    My 2

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    We're re-doing our Comp Plan right now and then reforming our landuse code. As a part of this, we have created new land use "sections" (akin to zoning districts). We've reached an impasse regarding our existing zoning districts.

    zman,

    How big are these districts and sections? What kind of land-use programs are involved? Do you have a lot of manufacturing and industry or is this primarily residential? Is there a significant aesthetic/historical conservation aspect Can you give some examples?

    In my opinion, form-coding doesn't always make sense. In fact, it may not even usually make sense. It depends on what problems you're trying to solve. Rochester forecoded it's entire downtown into a single zone. It hasn't really worked... and the coding may preclude development flexibility to the city's detriment.

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Thanks for weighing-in. If anything, changing the zonig of the existing town areas will give the owners more rights and easier processes.

    We are mainly residential, a bedroom community that serves the surrounding larger towns in the region (Ft. Collins, Greeley, Loveland). This wouldn't be too much of an issue, to tell the truth and I would love to clean things up.

    Now, I guess, I will make this request to the attorney... to see what sort of legal headache I am diving into.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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    Cyburbian
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    My guess is that undoing project-specific spot zoning can be difficult retroactively, especially where that zoning is died to specified entitlements and valuations... basically, your new commons standards have to grant the privileges you conveyed in the spot zoning across a broader area, I'd suspect...
    Last edited by Cismontane; 23 Feb 2011 at 12:51 PM.

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post

    If anything, changing the zonig of the existing town areas will give the owners more rights and easier processes.

    ... This wouldn't be too much of an issue, to tell the truth and I would love to clean things up.

    Now, I guess, I will make this request to the attorney... to see what sort of legal headache I am diving into.
    Just tell them you want to keep it simple and expanding rights will be an outcome (of course you'll have some details in hand when you go visit) and you'll tell the public there will be no new taxes and simplified gummint then you'll likely be fine.

    Oh, and there won't be a flood of developers putting in thousands of houses like in Erie as a result...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    You currently have 13 districts for a town of 3200 and you are considering additional, new districts. Maybe you should first consider why you have 13 districts for a relatively small town and how you can consolidate or eliminate some of the districts. Keep it simple. The more simple and straightforward your zoning is the more simple and straightforward your implementation is going to be.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Yes, simplify. Do not create new districts.

    Make a table of the use, dimensionsal, and other requirements of each district. Use this as a guide to look for similarities. Where the differences are minor, look to consolidate districts.
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