LAND USE AND ZONING
What is the zoning ordinance?
The Zoning Ordinance consists of the official zoning map, which divides the city into zoning districts, and the zoning text, which contains the standards and procedures that apply to the zoning districts. It regulates the use of land and buildings, and contains standards for lot size and residential density, building height and placement, and off-street parking. Special uses such as manufactured homes are also addressed. Even if no construction is proposed, any change in the use of land or a building must comply with the Zoning Ordinance.
How can the zoning of a property be changed?
If a use is proposed that is not allowed by the current zoning of a property, the owner has the option of applying to change the zoning classification to one which would allow the desired use. Such applications are considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission in a public hearing for which owners of property within 200 feet of the subject property are notified in case they desire to express their support or opposition. The Commission votes on a recommendation to City Council. The Council then holds a public hearing before voting to approve or deny the proposed zoning change. In addition to any neighborhood opposition, other factors such as consistency with the City’s Future Land Use Plan map and possible impacts such as traffic and noise are considered in the zoning change process.
What is a specific use?
Specific uses are listed for each zoning classification. Those uses are potentially appropriate in the district, but may need to meet special conditions in order to minimize any negative impacts. Applications for specific use permits involve the same notification and public hearing process as for zoning changes, but are reviewed and decided only by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Commission may attach conditions to any specific use permit that is approved.
Is it possible to obtain a variance?
When a lot, building, or parking area cannot reasonably comply with one or more requirements of the Zoning Ordinance due to unique circumstances that cause an exceptional hardship such that no viable use can be made of the property, the owner may apply for a zoning variance. Zoning variances are decided by the Zoning Board of Adjustment following the usual public notification and hearing process. The Board may attach conditions to any variance that is approved.