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Thread: Dealing with undesirable land uses

  1. #1
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    Dealing with undesirable land uses

    I am curious how other communities deal with land uses that they do not want in their communities. Are the uses specifically listed as "prohibited", "not allowed", or some other terminology? Or, are the "allowed uses" listed and it is left up to the discretion of the land use administrator and the zoning board to decide if the use is acceptable.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    We have "allowed" and "conditional uses" which require a CUP. If it is not on either list, then it is prohibited in that zone. Typical euclidean zoning.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ttrsplanner View post
    I am curious how other communities deal with land uses that they do not want in their communities. Are the uses specifically listed as "prohibited", "not allowed", or some other terminology? Or, are the "allowed uses" listed and it is left up to the discretion of the land use administrator and the zoning board to decide if the use is acceptable.
    As Raf said, if based on zoning districts. If based on prohibiting them from an entire community, we don't do that (not on purpose anyway) as exclusionary zoning is essentially prohibited in MI (for uses with a demonstrable need).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Clearwater, FL
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    Limiting Problematic Uses

    Quote Originally posted by ttrsplanner View post
    I am curious how other communities deal with land uses that they do not want in their communities. Are the uses specifically listed as "prohibited", "not allowed", or some other terminology? Or, are the "allowed uses" listed and it is left up to the discretion of the land use administrator and the zoning board to decide if the use is acceptable.
    You can permit such uses with a bunch of caveats:
    For example:
    Alcoholic beverage sales.

    1. The parcel proposed for development is not contiguous to a parcel of land which is designated as residential in the Zoning Atlas;

    2. The parcel proposed for development is not located within 500 feet of a parcel of land used for a place of worship or a public or private school, unless the floor area of the use which is devoted to the display and storage of alcoholic beverages is less than ten percent of the total floor area of the use and there is no signage located on the parcel proposed for development which identifies the use as a location where alcoholic beverages are sold;

    3. The parcel proposed for development is not located within 500 feet of a parcel of land used for a place of worship or a public or private school unless the intervening land uses, structures or context are such that the location of the alcoholic beverage sales is unlikely to have an adverse impact on such school or use as a place of worship.


    Or you could just lump in a bunch of uses you don't want and call them Problematic Uses as is done in my fair city as follows:

    Problematic uses means commercial retail and service uses, including but not limited to, day labor, tattoo parlors, body piercing, pawn shops, check cashing centers and blood plasma centers which are typically characterized by poorly maintained facilities, loitering and other indices of neighborhood deterioration or urban blight.

    M. Problematic uses.

    1. Location.

    a. The parcel proposed for development is not contiguous to a parcel of land which is designated as residential in the Zoning Atlas;

    b. The use is not located within 500 feet of another problematic use;

    2. Design.
    a. The building in which the use is located is painted or otherwise finished in materials and colors which are muted;
    b. There are no security bars on the outside of doors or windows which are visible from a public right-of-way;

    3. Signs. Any signage which has a height of greater than six feet is a part of a comprehensive sign program;

    4. The building in which the use is located is a building which is conforming to all current land development and building regulations;

    5. Front setback: The reduction in front setback results in an improved site plan or improved design and appearance;

    6. Rear setback:
    a. The reduction in rear setback does not prevent access to the rear of any building by emergency vehicles.
    b. The reduction in rear setback results in an improved site plan, more efficient parking, or improved design and appearance and landscaped areas are in excess of the minimum required.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Mar 2009
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    I believe that the more interesting discussion herein is why are there uses that you want to prohibit and why. The use of the phase "don't want in their communities" bothers me. I can understand if your city is a suburban residential bedroom community and you want to limit the number of foundries, but your post seems like there is more to it than that.

    As planners we need to be careful that we do not use public policy to discriminate in any form. When we look to "prohibit" in any form we come close to, if not cross, the line of discrimination. Now it's likely that your case is not one of those where a community chooses to prohibit for the purposes of exclusion, but I've seen it happen numerous times before in my career.

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