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Thread: Combining land use and zoning maps? Good or bad?

  1. #1
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    Combining land use and zoning maps? Good or bad?

    I'm an intern and I'm having a hard time finding relevant information for a project that I'm doing for my community development department.I have a question for anyone with city planning knowledge in California. Are charter cities exempt from general plan laws that require them to be amended more than four times a year? And what could happen as a result of combining the land use map and zoning map in a city? Are there any benefits to combining these maps? Or is it better to separate these two types of maps?

    Anything helps, thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I am not familiar with your neck of the woods; however, combining a zoning and land use map seems like a nightmare.

    You're opening the door for a lot of ... "..according to this map, so and so around the corner is running a strip club in the R-3 District, why can't I?"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Charter city status only impacts whether the zoning and general plan land-use elements have to be aligned and consistent, not whether you should have them as two separate documents... so, except in charter cities and the City of Los Angeles, zoning may not, for example, do anything that the General Plan dose not allow, whereas in charter cities, such consistency is not enforced. LA is considered a special exception and instance of a charter and has its own rules about determining consistency.

    In general, CA cities have (a) General Plans that consist of "elements".. including land-use (governed by your Planning Commission) , (b) Zoning (governed by the Zoning Adjustment Board), (c) subdivisions (most likely governed by the Zoning Adjustment Board), and some have (d) additional ordinances, aesthetic standards, etc, governed by other boards, such as architectural and design review boards for urban design standards that may or may not be appended to the General Plan as a separate element. In addition, there maybe some other state processes that inform your planning area, such as LAFCO, if an annexation is involved and which makes sure that new areas of cities have access to essential infrastructure and utilities, or CEQA, the environmental impact assessment and disclosure process. There are also regional transportation plans, that could effect land-use.

    In general, it is better to keep these pieces as separate documents because they are governed by different regulatory and/or statutory entities, and are all revised by different people, with differing requirements for input and review, and at different times. If you were to combine land-use with zoning, then you risk having people tripping over each other and you really don't want that.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Are charter cities exempt from general plan laws that require them to be amended more than four times a year?
    You cannot amend a required element more than four times in a year. The provisions under Government Code 65358 (which outlines GP amendments) do not make a distinction between a general law city and a charter city. However, charter cities differ from general law cities in regards to their zoning and its consistency with the General Plan, which was described by Cismontane. As he also pointed out, Los Angeles is an exception to the rule (because zoning law requires charter cities with a population over 2,000,000 to have zoning consistency.)

    And what could happen as a result of combining the land use map and zoning map in a city? Are there any benefits to combining these maps? Or is it better to separate these two types of maps?
    These maps cover two similar, but very different tasks. One is the general layout of uses in the city. Industry goes here, homes go here, etc. Zoning implements that layout, and provides more specific regulations of the uses, building layout, etc. Zoning supplements your land use, but not the other way around. As Cismontane said, you’ll end up with people, and different types of authorities, tripping over each other as they figure out what’s going on.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

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