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Conditions, conditions, conditions

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,505
Points
41
Our PC (for plats and pudds, primarily) and ZBA (for use and development variances) have been placing SO MANY conditions on approvals that we've just had to say enough is enough. It is not uncommon for some approvals to have 16-17 conditions, and some even more 8-!

There are several factors, of which we are well aware:
1) The zoning ordinance does not have any strong language about what submittals are required in order to be considered a "complete application"
2) Public Hearings expose conditions that neither the staff nor the developer anticipated
3) We do not have a "front counter planner": currently our admin clerk takes and logs applications, but she isn't looking for issues relevant to p&z review, rather she's making sure they are signed, checks made payable in full, et cetera
4) Our application does not make explicit what we expect, other than the fact that the site development plan must be based on a reliable survey
5) A lot of folks think we are communist land grabbing, life-style defining, who the hell do we think we are telling them what they can and can not do with their property, sobs that they pay the salaries for.

I've downloaded JNA's commercial and residential application checklists, and I think we can incorporate a version of them into our own local reviews, but we need to restructure our "corporate culture". SO, what sayeth The Throbbing Brain{tm}?? Is there more to it than I've described above?

BACKGROUND: We are about 40k pop: about 25 sq. mi. miles jurisdiction (primary and secondary); three full time staff (2 professional, and one, umm, appointed), plus our admin staff of one. We have no full time works board staff; city engineer; or, legal department. A lot of the generic stuff that we deal with is hampered by the above and we are left to muddle through, as best we can.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
31
My first thought is that many, if not most, of the imposed conditions are illegal. next, you obviously need to re-vamp your ordinance and procedures to get back to "as of right" land uses. A final note is that you have "use" variances. Life will never be simple 'til they are gone.
And Good Luck.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Gedunker said:
....some approvals to have 16-17 conditions, and some even more 8-! ....
LOL...I once processed a fairly complex and controversial residential subdivision that resulted in over 170 conditions. Maybe a third of those conditions were mitigation measures from the environmental document, the rest were related to the steps necessary for the developer to perfect the project.

I don't see a problem with lots of conditions. Think of them as a road map that the developer must take once they've completed the discretionary process. A complete set of clear conditions can result in less ambiguity as the developer moves through the ministerial process and gives the developer a full understanding of their responsibilities.

Just my point of view.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,952
Points
40
Even with an 18 page checklist for completeness, we still put a variety of conditions on subdivisions and site plans. We only use precident conditions though.....those conditions that must be met before the plan is signed by the board and construction can commence (mostly plan clean-up items, drainage report changes, etc.)
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,194
Points
26
5) A lot of folks think we are communist land grabbing, life-style defining, who the hell do we think we are telling them what they can and can not do with their property, sobs that they pay the salaries for.
With a PC like yours, they might be right :) Just kidding!

What exactly are you unhappy with? Are you dissatisfied with the types of conditions they place on these plans? Do you think they are justified, but don't like how nitpicky they are being? I also assume you don't like being blindside (a big pet peeve of mine!)

What is the process for the PC to review plats and puds? We require a preliminary to be submitted and reviewed and approved by PC, before the final. That helps get all the kinks out (well some of them anyway) before the final approval.

One on hand, be glad that your PC actually looks at the plans!! I agree that you need to have your ordinance amended to include the items required on the plan, and outlining the process. ((For what its worth, the last one on our list says 'any other items deemed necessary by PC', so that opens us up to it anyway)).

And same as NHP, the conditions that our PC makes are mainly those items that need revision on the site plan (or labeling, etc.). Too many items missing completely from the site plan (sidewalks, tot lot, tree's, etc.) would be denied.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Gedunker said:
Our PC (for plats and pudds, primarily) and ZBA (for use and development variances) have been placing SO MANY conditions on approvals that we've just had to say enough is enough. It is not uncommon for some approvals to have 16-17 conditions, and some even more 8-!

There are several factors, of which we are well aware:
1) The zoning ordinance does not have any strong language about what submittals are required in order to be considered a "complete application"
2) Public Hearings expose conditions that neither the staff nor the developer anticipated
3) We do not have a "front counter planner": currently our admin clerk takes and logs applications, but she isn't looking for issues relevant to p&z review, rather she's making sure they are signed, checks made payable in full, et cetera
4) Our application does not make explicit what we expect, other than the fact that the site development plan must be based on a reliable survey
5) A lot of folks think we are communist land grabbing, life-style defining, who the hell do we think we are telling them what they can and can not do with their property, sobs that they pay the salaries for.

I've downloaded JNA's commercial and residential application checklists, and I think we can incorporate a version of them into our own local reviews, but we need to restructure our "corporate culture". SO, what sayeth The Throbbing Brain{tm}?? Is there more to it than I've described above?

BACKGROUND: We are about 40k pop: about 25 sq. mi. miles jurisdiction (primary and secondary); three full time staff (2 professional, and one, umm, appointed), plus our admin staff of one. We have no full time works board staff; city engineer; or, legal department. A lot of the generic stuff that we deal with is hampered by the above and we are left to muddle through, as best we can.


Thats sounds like planner HELL to me.....(workload anyway!) You must eat nails and drink gasoline to be able to put up with that work environment! serving 40k!!! I served 20 k by myself +(1 assistant) and wanted to leave my wife and kids and sit on the beach in Tonga for the rest of my life.....oh, and the attitude towards planning was MUCH worse than you have expressed |-) Good Luck......All in all, I say push no condition applications and code updates as much as possible, through a consultant.....and take a vacation......
 
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