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Thread: Rezoning Issues

  1. #1

    Rezoning Issues

    I would like to pick the Cyburbia brain on a couple of questions regarding rezoning.

    1. When a City changes the regulations of a specific zoning district and those changes render some of the businesses in that district legal non-conforming, should the City have informed the owners of these businesses that their use would now be legal non-conforming so they could have a say in the zoning regulation changes?

    2. Taking that a step further, do you feel that if a City rezones a residential parcel to a business zoning classification, don't you think that the owners should be notified of any zoning change?
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

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  2. #2
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    In response to both questions, I don't think legally the city is required to provide such individual notices unless the city statutes require it.

    Thus, it really becomes more of a political question for your city council.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Check for the "notification" section of your code. I bet that notifications should have gone out. Would be interesting to find out why such a requirement is not included in your code. Doesn't the State require notification of such action? It would be weird if it didn't. Seems like it would violate sunshine/open meetings laws. You should check into it in case your rezonings could be challenged as invalid.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  4. #4
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    As said by SGB said unless it's spelled out in the city statutes or state enabling law -as it should be - you aren't legally required to notify the property owners. However, IMPO, I would send notices anyway just in the promotion of good and open governance.

  5. #5
    We have made the standard zone change (when initiated by an owner/optioner) very, very difficult unless they do a PUDD or apply for and receive a use variance (almost always non-transferable).

    If the city initiates the zone change we notify everybody effected and those that adjoin the effected area and the obligatory legal ad. We issue press releases to get the story on the front page. We post signs for the public hearings such that the area is (almost) literally wallpapered with signs.

    Still, folks show up saying "dis here's da first I heard of ya'll commies comin a'change my property zone".

    You're here, aren't you? Sit down, shut up, and learn something.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia
    Check for the "notification" section of your code. I bet that notifications should have gone out. Would be interesting to find out why such a requirement is not included in your code. Doesn't the State require notification of such action? It would be weird if it didn't. Seems like it would violate sunshine/open meetings laws. You should check into it in case your rezonings could be challenged as invalid.
    Not only do I echo this, but please update us if there is no notification requirement in the code. I have never heard of a place without and would be interested to know about one.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Re: Rezoning Issues

    Originally posted by Repo Man
    1. When a City changes the regulations of a specific zoning district and those changes render some of the businesses in that district legal non-conforming, should the City have informed the owners of these businesses that their use would now be legal non-conforming so they could have a say in the zoning regulation changes?
    -I would think they would have to be informed so they could state their cases either for or against it. Plus usually when you make a change like that, the existing businesses that are now non-conforming are "grand-fathered" into the change, to prevent hardship to the owner.

    Usually they can run their business in this changed zoning area for the life of the business, even if it changes ownership over the years. I think though, once the business shuts down that use is no longer permitted.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I think you have two issues here. If you are modifying the language of the zoning classification you likely need to hold a public hearing and publish a notice, but are not required to inform individual land-owners or tenants. If you are proposing to change the zoning of a property from one class to another, then I think you would need to send individual notices to the owners as well as publish a public notice. City and state codes vary widely enough that you should confirm this with the city attorney.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    We notify the owners. State law does not require it, but we put it into our local code. A city-wide revision to the map renders this impossible, so we get the word out as best as possible. Once I was lucky enough for the newspaper to publish a proposed map.

  10. #10
    Our code says that everyone within 200 feet of the rezoning must be noticed.

    The problem is that we changed the regulations in our business zoning and now some legal non-conforming businesses want to expand and improve their properties that badly need it and they are getting upset because they can't improve their properties (that need it) and they are even more upset because they didn't recieve any notice of the changes.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  11. #11
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    in NY...that's an Arcticle 78 waiting to happen (but not too long, otherwise, you're out of time)...
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

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  12. #12
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    In California, yes and yes.

    Actually, maybe and yes. A change with citywide impact or large area impact can be noticed in a newspaper of general circulation.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    I think you have two issues here. If you are modifying the language of the zoning classification you likely need to hold a public hearing and publish a notice, but are not required to inform individual land-owners or tenants. If you are proposing to change the zoning of a property from one class to another, then I think you would need to send individual notices to the owners as well as publish a public notice. City and state codes vary widely enough that you should confirm this with the city attorney.
    That's how it is here. For notification purposes (rezoning, special use permit, variance), we have to send notice to everyone within 300 feet.

    For a zoning amendment, we wouldn't be required to send out notices, just have it published. Most most likely we would send them out anyway, just to protect our own rears.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I don't think you would be under any obligation to notify property owners of a change to the zoning district regs, simply because in most jurisdictions it would be a daunting undertaking. Placing a newspaper ad stating the proposed change and possible effects, and possibly notifying the local Chamber and other business associations, should do the trick.

    On the second point, I agree with the opinions already posted. Individual property owners should be notified that their property is proposed for rezoning, unless a substantial percentage of the jurisdiction's area is affected (in our county it's 5%).

  15. #15
    We did everything legally (noticed in the paper) but there was no input from the businesses that were affected and it is now coming back to haunt us because we have restaurants and gas stations that want to do some good things (ie fix up their properties, add landscaping, re-do buildings, etc) but are hindered by the old 50 percent rule (improvements cannot exceed 50 percent of the value of the improvements).

    The problem is that we have a gas station and nobody is going to ever buy it for something other than a gasoline station but with its legal non-conforming status there is little incentive to keep up the property.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Repo, in my mind yes and yes. Even if not required by Code, it should be done as a courtesy.

    *Alternately, at the last place I worked the City didnt want to spend the cash to do it, so they gave the Alderman of each district a list of the affected parties and a summary of the changes. Then, if notices were not done, the Alderman had to take the heat.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Originally posted by Repo Man
    We did everything legally (noticed in the paper) but there was no input from the businesses that were affected and it is now coming back to haunt us because we have restaurants and gas stations that want to do some good things (ie fix up their properties, add landscaping, re-do buildings, etc) but are hindered by the old 50 percent rule (improvements cannot exceed 50 percent of the value of the improvements).
    Is the 50% rule something they could get a variance for? That way it doesn't open it up to everyone. Our zoning states that the ZBA can grant a variance from "any dimensional or numerical standard or requirement".

    We also don't have a 50% rule - we just say that they can't expand beyond their present building confines.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    I think you have two issues here. If you are modifying the language of the zoning classification you likely need to hold a public hearing and publish a notice, but are not required to inform individual land-owners or tenants. If you are proposing to change the zoning of a property from one class to another, then I think you would need to send individual notices to the owners as well as publish a public notice. City and state codes vary widely enough that you should confirm this with the city attorney.
    I think Cardinal has it right. In the first case, in a jurisdiction of any decent size, it may well be impossible to determine each and every property that would be affected by the change in regulations. Therefore, a requirement to notify all affected properties in such a case may be too onerous. It may be politically prudent to use the local media to inform as many people as possible of the changes, so that affected parties have a chance to participate in the process. However, if a property's zoning classification is going to be changed, particularly if that change was not initiated by the property owner him/herself, then the owner must be notified. Here in Illinois, state statute requires such notification for non-home rule cities, while most (if not all) of the home rule cities have such notification requirements for rezonings in their local codes.

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