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Thread: Criteria for a rezoning...

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Criteria for a rezoning...

    What does your planning commission look at when reviewing rezoning requests? What 'criteria', if any, do they follow?

    Some initial thoughts:
    *Is the request compatible or contrary to the master plan
    *Is the request compatible or conflicting with existing land uses?
    *Would the request, if approved, consitute spot zoning (whatever that *really* is)?
    *Is the area adequately served by utilities/roads?

    Any other ideas/thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Adequate Public Facilites present for the uses permitted

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Trip generation rates between the possible uses...

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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Often, the states' Supreme Courts settled the matter for you. In each of the four states I worked there was one case that identified pertinent criteria. That case, plus the zoning enabling statutes, are the best starts. In KS, it is the Golden Rule (Golden v. City of Overland Park)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    In all cases(rezoning only, rezoning and plan amendment) our legislation requires that we review the proposal for conformity to teh general intent of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). The MDP outlines the general goals and objectives of the city and all development within a specific use designation (commercial/residential/industrial). All new development must comply with the policies and proposals(p&p) for the designation it is within. When changing use designation we also look at the MDP and see if the proposed change will comply with the p&p of the MDP for specific designations.

    If you have a specific case or example I could probably explain it better.


    It is clearer and easier to explain in person. Gotta love legislation specific jargon.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Re: Criteria for a rezoning...

    Originally posted by SW MI Planner

    Some initial thoughts:
    *Would the request, if approved, consitute spot zoning (whatever that *really* is)?
    This arises when the community is considering the rezoning of a single lot or small parcel of property held by a single owner and the rezoning will permit land uses not available to the adjacent property.

    Spot zoning often focuses on the single parcel without considering the broader context, that is, the area and land uses surrounding the parcel, it is commonly considered the antithesis of planned zoning. While rezoning decisions that only affect a single parcel or small amount of land are most often the subject of spot zoning claims (as opposed to rezonings of larger areas), a locality can lawfully rezone a single parcel if its action is shown to be consistent with the community's land use policies.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  7. #7

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    I've always felt that this question was the real Achilles' heel of conventional zoning practice, and that most planning and zoning boards operate with virtually no criteria for rezonings, or if they do have criteria (and this includes the court-made rules Mike G is talking about), they are quite vague and applied inconsistently. A really good comp plan that is applied in a consistent way may solve this problem in some places, but having worked as an expert witness to help attack the typically vague criteria, I think you need a full set of performance standards to apply to rezonings if you want them to withstand a really well-designed legal attack. If I were writing a conventional zoning ordinance, I would start with adequate facilities capacity and work my way through all the environmental, neighborhood compatibility, and design questions, one at a time, to make a mandatory checklist for the review of rezonings.

  8. #8

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    PS: I would also spend a LOT of time on the map, making sure the potential for rezoning was as minimal as possible.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Donk and Lee make two very important points that merit repeating:

    1) Spell out the criteria in the muncipal plan, and

    2) Also spell out the criteria explicitly in your local codes.

    I would hope that having the criteria in two places would make the intent clear to those who want a rezoning, and would also support the municipality's decision on the request if court action results.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Re: Criteria for a rezoning...

    Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    What does your planning commission look at when reviewing rezoning requests? What 'criteria', if any, do they follow?

    Some initial thoughts:
    *Is the request compatible or contrary to the master plan
    *Is the request compatible or conflicting with existing land uses?
    *Would the request, if approved, consitute spot zoning (whatever that *really* is)?
    *Is the area adequately served by utilities/roads?

    Any other ideas/thoughts?
    I would add whether the land is appropriate for the intended use: is it too sloped for say Industrial purposes, are there wetlands or natural areas that would preclude the density/intensity of the zone, etc.

    If there is an Area Structure Plan, Specific Plan, or other targeted planning document adopted, I would ensure compliance with that as well. For shoreline areas or other environmentally protected areas that require master planning, it would need to comply with the policies in those documents.

    The four you listed are the usual considerations though.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    Criteria for a rezoning

    Where I used to work, the criteria was not always based on sound principals of the Land Development Code or Comprehensive Plan, but whether or not the consultant/developer was "friends" with the Commissioners. The poor little guy and the good projects were usually out of luck. So, check and see if the applicant has any connection to those getting to have the final say on the project.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Re: Criteria for a rezoning

    Originally posted by Trail Nazi
    Where I used to work, the criteria was not always based on sound principals of the Land Development Code or Comprehensive Plan, but whether or not the consultant/developer was "friends" with the Commissioners. The poor little guy and the good projects were usually out of luck. So, check and see if the applicant has any connection to those getting to have the final say on the project.
    Trail Nazi is not kidding. We worked together for a long time and anything certain redneck lawyers brought in, their redneck huntin' buddy commissioner pushed through. Once, they convinced the Development Review Manager to go hunting with them, and he honestly thought they were going to tie him to a tree and shoot him.

    The current Planning director is having a hard time coping with the fact that the County Attorney said he could not ignore portions of the Land Development Code whenever he wanted to do favors.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    One more thing from our area.

    Anybody can apply for anything, it is in how you respond to the application that is important (professionally, ethically, within your area of knowledge). Don't forget that in many cases a project can meet all of the requirements of the ordiances / by-laws/ regulations but be turned down for political reasons. In our legislation council is only forbidden to undertake work that does not comply with the plan, they don't necessarily have to approve work that does comply.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Donk, but can't the Council make a simple amendment to the Comp Plan if they so choose to mold the outcome the way they want? Just curious. Where I work at times the Council makes Amendments to the Comp Plan as needed (side note: ARRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!) I keep telling everyone its time to update the whole Comp Plan not just a bit here and there... LOL! Is that really a plan? Maybe in their eyes, but not a public one...

  15. #15
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Vlaude asked .
    but can't the Council make a simple amendment to the Comp Plan if they so choose to mold the outcome the way they want?



    Yes council can, but any amendment must be within the general intent of the document and not conflict with the overall tone of the document nor specific sections of the Plan. Plus any amendment has to first be reviewed by the Commission and planning staff for comment and recommendation. Council does not have to take our advice, but they must ask for it. Your legislative framework may vary.

    As for redrafting, we have a brand new plan, 2 years old, and we are constantly reviewing it and making note of items we would like to see revised as the idea while valid and good at the time, needs a bit of tweaking to reflect what has occurred since the document was first prepared. It is my intention to review and suggest minor/administrative changes annually.

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