Presentation on theme: "Basics for reporters. Some countries have very little or not planning. Others, like Canada for example, centralize planning at provincial levels. Planning."— Presentation transcript:
Basics for reporters
Some countries have very little or not planning. Others, like Canada for example, centralize planning at provincial levels. Planning in the U.S. occupies a middle ground, decentralized to the local level, within a state framework. State provides some general guidelines, local levels get more specific.
To guide growth and change in a municipality in an orderly way that promotes the public interest while protecting property rights. Requires striking a balance between competing interests – public interest vs. property rights.
For example - The owner of a auto dealership may have a chance to expand his business by purchasing the restaurant next door. - The expansion would mean more night lighting and additional noise. This does not sit well with nearby home owners. How should this dispute be resolved?
Most common – Euclidean zoning - Named after Euclid, Ohio - Supreme Court upheld Euclids zoning ordinance in Based on the idea of separation of incompatible land uses
Separates land uses by intensity. Intensity – the amount of noise, traffic, pollution, etc. generated by the land use. - Highest intensity – heavy industry - Lowest intensity – single-family residential - Intermediate – multi-family, office service, commercial, light industrial
Buffers incompatible uses - With uses of intermediate intensity For example: Office zones can separate residential from commercial areas. - With mitigation of impact – screening with walls, privacy fences, trees or other vegetation - Setbacks from property line - Lighting regulations – ex. light pollution
Separation of uses leads to: - Urban sprawl – inefficient delivery of services such as fire, water, sewer. - Dependence on automobiles – driving a mile for a loaf of bread; major arteries cutting up neighborhoods. - Urban crime – deterioration of central cities; cities empty out at 5 p.m.
New urbanism - Mixed uses – commercial on lower floors, apartments above. Shop, work and recreate where you live. - Walkable neighborhoods – bike paths, grid streets to move traffic.
Form-based zoning - Regulates buildings instead of uses – considers aesthetics, such as the buildings height, setbacks, materials - Relation of buildings to public space – green zones - Creation of designed public space – parking, streetscapes.
Planning commission - Writes master plan, zoning ordinance - Acts on rezoning requests, site plans, etc. City or village council - Can choose whether to be final authority Zoning board of appeals - Settles requests for variances Staff – the local experts Consultants – the out-of-town experts
One of the most important planning documents. Sets overall direction for change in land uses in the community. Can be used to support decisions that move toward community goals – non-motorized transportation. Must respond to market forces. Planning something doesnt make it happen.
Master plans are use it or lose it propositions. Failure to follow the plan may discredit any attempt to use the plan as a defense for actions which may be challenged by property owners or developments – Michigan Municipal League.
Establishes the rules for land use - Divides the community into zoning districts. Provides a precise definition. - Controls the type and intensity of development allowed in each district. For example – neighborhood commercial may include convenience stores and small retail shops but exclude gas stations, auto repair shops, supermarkets and malls.
Rezoning petition - Seeks to change zoning of a particular parcel. - If approved, allows any use on the rezoned parcel permitted in that zoning district. Site plan - An engineered design for a specific use for a particular parcel. - Can have full or administrative review. Variance – decided by zoning board of appeals
Rezoning stays with property, not with the owner. - Owner may change mind - New owner can change use Uses permitted by right Conditional uses (special use permit)
Grandfathering - Zoning is not retroactive - Existing uses allowed to remain as legal noncomformities. - Should be brought into conformity over time - new use can only be one permitted in the zoning district; limits on remodeling, rebuilding, etc.
Historically, Michigan has not allowed contract zoning –agreements with property owners to restrict the use of a property if rezoning is granted. Instead, planning commissions had to consider the wide range of uses permitted under a zoning district.
A recent change to state law allowed conditional rezoning. A property owner can voluntarily propose limiting the use of a piece of property. If accepted, the agreement is legally binding on the property owner. If the agreement is broken, the property reverts to the previous zoning.
Required in every community that has a zoning ordinance. Council can act as the ZBA. A ZBA can be appointed by the council. Has final authority over requests for variances.
Variances are requests to be allowed to break the law. To violate the ordinance. Most should be denied. Two kinds - Use – permits a use not otherwise allowed in a zoning district. - Dimensional – permits encroachment in required setbacks, parking requirements, building height, etc.
Petitioner is usually required to show - Compliance with the law would cause unnecessary hardship for the owner. - Due to circumstances unique to the property. - The problem shouldnt be self-created. - The variance should do substantial justice both to the property owner and to others.
Petitioner is usually required to show - Compliance with the law would cause practical difficulties for the property owner. - Due to circumstances unique to the property. - The problem shouldnt be self-created. - The variance should be the minimum action required to solve the problem.
Eventually, the offhand granting of variances harms the communitys ability to enforce the ordinance - Michigan Municipal League. Poorly supported decisions can, over time, have the effect of destroying the credibility of the zoning ordinance.
Former industrial areas where the land is contaminated by chemical substances, oil, old gas tanks, etc. Can be tough to attract redevelopment, because of the contamination and government clean-up requirements for redevelopment. Local governments, state and federal programs in place to encourage redevelopment.
Were not making any more land, but population is increasing. Can lead to conflicts over existing and future land development. New tools, techniques and ideas about land use and reuse are always emerging. Land use discussion tends to bring out the NIMBY crowd in force. Also attracts those who may not follow government day-to-day but suddenly develop an interest due to their home or business location.