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Definitions I don't think that means what you think it means - Downzoning

ChairmanMeow

Cyburbian
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82
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Has anyone encountered people who use 'down zoning' to mean an increase in density?

Example: "This is the result of the charrette meetings the town held to ‘let us know’ they plan to down-zone much of the property from Neighborhood A to Neighborhood B to accommodate the need for more housing and businesses in this corridor."
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Do you think this could be problematic if it's mentioned in public comments, thus entered into the public record, during local meetings (planning board, zoning board, town council, etc.)?
 

DVD

Cyburbian
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13,825
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Down zoning to me goes to a specific allowance I've seen with commissions - might change state to state. The Council or Commission was allowed to approve down zoning rather than the actual zoning requested. You either have cumulative zoning or a table to say what down zoning is. You know, approving C-1 zoning instead of C-2 because whatever.

As a general reference I would take it as an argument to rezone. We're down zoning this from some commercial zone to some residential (less offensive/intense) use. I'm not sure how you argue increased density in a down zone. Maybe if you're going from industrial to commercial/multi-family I would call that a down zone that would accommodate housing and business.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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A long time ago -- like, way before any of us were born -- downzoning meant rezoning "down" to a "less desirable" zone. A "less desirable" zone, by the standards of the 1950s-1970s suburban era, was one that was less restrictive, or which allowed more intensive development or higher housing density. If R-1 zoning allowed single family houses on 15,000 square foot lots, and R-1A zoning allowed the same thing on 10,000 square foot lots, the R-1A zone was "worse", so rezoning from R-1 to R-1A would be a downzoning. Here's an example of "downzoning" in the context of upzoning.

downzoning.png

A lot of the references for "downzoning" in the context of upzoning are from the Hudson Valley area, so maybe the old definition had some staying power there. If using the word "downzoning" to mean upzoning is a regional quirk, can you paraphrase in minutes, and use "rezone to a more intensive zone" to avoid confusion?
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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It makes sense. Going from I-1 to R-3 could easily be dubbed downzoning (like Dan references).

This could happen in places that over zoned with commercial and/or industrial zoning and needs to rezone some properties to multi-family etc to be more in line with the market needs.
 
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Dan

Dear Leader
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It makes sense. Going from I-1 to R-3 could easily be dubbed downzoning (like Dan references).
That's what I normally think of when I think of downzoning -- going from a zone that allows more intensive development or density to a less intensive zone. For example, multifamily R-5 "down" to single family large lot R-1. From APA's A Planner's Dictionary:

downzone (See also cumulative zoning; upzoning) - A change in the zoning classification of land to a classification permitting development that is less intensive or dense, such as from multi-family to single family or from commercial to industrial to residential. A change in the opposite direction is called “upzoning.” (Handbook for Planning Commissioners in Missouri)

To change the land use of a tract or parcel of land from a greater to less intense usage. (Austin, Tex.)

A change in zoning classification that permits development that is less dense, intense, or restrictive (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

A change in the zoning classification of land to a designation requiring less intensive development, such as a change from multi-family to single family or from commercial to residential. A change in the opposite direction would be considered upzoning. (Bellingham, Wash.)


The old meaning of "downzoning" was the opposite. Downzoning by the standards of 1950s-1960s suburban planners and officials would be going from R-1 "down" to the "worse" R-5; what we call upzoning today. From The Political Realities of Urban Planning by Don Allensworth in 1975:

downzoning.jpg
 

ChairmanMeow

Cyburbian
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82
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3
If using the word "downzoning" to mean upzoning is a regional quirk, can you paraphrase in minutes, and use "rezone to a more intensive zone" to avoid confusion?
After a recent town board meeting I mentioned this to a reporter for a local paper (owned by one of the news giants) and he thanked me for saying something and said he'd try to use "less density" and "more/higher density" instead of up/down zoning.

I should have mentioned that the example I gave above was taken from the Facebook page of a local advocacy group.

Example: "This is the result of the charrette meetings the town held to ‘let us know’ they plan to down-zone much of the property from Neighborhood A to Neighborhood B to accommodate the need for more housing and businesses in this corridor."
 
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