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Older Communities and Performance Zoning


I am a community planner working in PA. One of the communities I work with is interested in a complete overhaul of its existing zoning ordinance. It is an older industrial community that is mostly developed. Like many older communities it has developed in somewhat of a mixed-use fashion although currently has more of a traditional ordinance. Our goals are to maintain the historic character while allowing for more varied uses, specifically with respect to infill development. The community is also willing to be somewhat innovative in its efforts. I have been tossing around the idea of performance zoning, at various levels. Has any one had any experience with these types of issues in older communities and can point me in the direction of some successful communities?

Lee Nellis

Performance Approach in Older Cities

I do not think you will find many examples, though there are a lot of places that have edged toward a performance approach using detailed conditional or special use procedures. I helped Idaho Falls, ID do a fairly successful set of performance standards to govern the conversion of homes to businesses along arterial corridors. Similar standards could be used in many different re-development efforts. I have done a lot of training with different communities on performance approaches, if you are interested.


Havana Florida has PZ

The Town of Havana (near Tallahassee) has had PZ since 1990. It has worked well for them. The Town was almost dead from the standpoint of economic activity. It was starting to attract a little interest as an "antique center" and has now becone a major node of antique shops, art studios and galleries as well as having a significant high tech facility.

I pu the ordinance together for them (and the Comprehensive plan to support it). Let me know if you want more info.