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Downzoning to eliminate rental units

Juan Ganum

Member
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Does anyone out there have any experience with this sort of large scale rezoning? Our planning commission is attempting to convert 4 blocks from two family res to single family res. The city is trying to prevent any new rental units from being carved out of older homes along one of our main thoroughfares. A third of this 4 block area is controlled by a local non-profit that is trying to rehab the neighborhood. This CDC is strongly in favor of the rezoning. There are more than a few landlords who would certainly object to the rezoning when they receive their notice in the mail. Any suggestions on how to handle this?
 
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What state do you live in that would prevent a landlord from being able to rent out the units he is allowed to rent now by rezoning to lower density?
 
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Perhaps I am missing something here.

From your description, this is an older area with fairly large dwelling units located along a major thoroughfare that appapently is already undergoing transition. This should be a perfect location for residential intensification or redevelopment to higher densities.

I do not understand the planning rationale for downzoning at all, other than NIMBY. Please elaborate.

Based on your description, I really think that you should expect to encounter legitimate and strong opposition.

As it stands, the adequatcy of off-street street parking, the potential for extra traffic, and the adequacy of public services and amenities (schools, parks, etc.; assuming that hard services are adequate) should be the main planning concerns. One question though---is that main thoroughfare served by public transit, or is it just a highway?
 

Cosmic

Cyburbian
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This seems to be a political perception issue. What is the problem driving the rezoning?

You might want to take an objective stance here because from a planning perspective a variety of housing opportunities is not a bad thing. Use your plans and policies. Point out whether you have your comprehensive plan support for the current land use or not.

Perhaps point out that although one party may not like the other party, that there are no real planning reasons for such a rezoning to occur. It would be one thing if the use was not established and neighbouring property owners are complaining about an application about a proposed change in land use. There might be ways to deal with their concerns through the rezoning application process. It is another when a land use is established and it isn't new to neighbouring property owners but a reality. It exists and they knew that.

From what you are saying I assume the renters are causing problems. Are there other ways to deal with the issue? Perhaps beef up your zoning bylaw or other bylaws like (just brainstorming here) untidy premises, noise control, dog control, number of unlicensed cars permitted on a property, fencing and buffering requirements, required setbacks, or whatever. Maybe you could point out to the decision makers the alternatives for trying to solve the problem other than letting them to focus solely on rezoning.

Good luck.
 

Linden Smith

Cyburbian
Messages
141
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Well I've got to disagree with the others on this issue. If you've got a four block area, with more than one block held by a habitat for humanity type NPO, you've got a very depressed area. Downzoning, or rightsizeing, will stop the downward spiral without huge sums of public dollars being spent to buy, rehab, and turn into public housing.

There are many very good reasons why this move is in the interest of good planning and good public policy.

First, the existing duplex units will become legal non-conformities that can continue as long as the property owner wants. Second, the move stabilises the property speculation and allows private investment, often in owner occupied houses. Third, the area may be historically significant and prevents teardowns. Fourth, the buildings themselves may be architectually significant and keeps them in the neighborhood context, rather than being punctuated by modern duplex units.

I'd work at finding the pluses and minuses of the action, relate it to the comp plan, and go for it.
 

Blake

Member
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My question is kind of the reverse...My wifes grandfather purchases some land back in the 1930's, and built a home there. Many years have gone by, and now a large university has grown to abut the neighborhood that grew as he sold off his holdings. Of course, many of the homes there now are rented out, as the landlords are absentee. The city is attempting to rezone the area, and is against grandfathering anyone from the new zoning restrictions, which would basically force those holding 51% or more of the property rights to live there or be forced to sell within 5 years. Because of the area, rentals are needed, especially for young student families, but the city zoning board wants to revert it back to a "new utopia" for young families purchasing the homes. Few, if any, student families could afford a home there, and I am seeking information on how to approach the zoning board when they meet in a few weeks to oppose the rezoning. Anyone out there able to help???
 
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