Land development code update

Revision of  the land development regulations has been going on for a long time.  The original timeline prepared in 2006 by ACP Planning and Visioning had December 2007 as the target date for adopting new regulations.   Back when ACP started work on the Comprehensive Plan the land development regulations were to be revised simultaneously thus ensuring a tight fit between the Comp Plan and the regulations.   Nothing has happened according to plan and when a draft of new regulations arrived in 2009, the document was a clumsy cut-and-paste job with internal inconsistencies, missing references, and just plain nonsense almost completely unrelated to the Comprehensive Plan.

2009 saw city boards and commissions, as well as the Land Use Advisory Group (made up of developers, architects, board/commission members), another developers group, the Chamber of Commerce and the NDDC comment on the draft and the Planning Commission has been working hard to put it all together into something which really will carry out the goals of the Comp Plan as well as be easy to administer.  The Planning Commission deserves a huge amount of credit for their persistence, diligence, research, and effort.

2010 has seen the Planning Commission really take charge of their process for revising and rewriting.   The first portion of their revised draft – regulations for the built residential areas of the city – comes to the Council at our work session this week.

I’ve wanted new land development regulations since 2001 when I was on the Planning Commission and the previous Comp Plan was adopted.   I’ve started quite a few blog posts about the post-2008 Comp Plan revision process, but trashed them all because I have not been able to remain calm enough to write through the delays, obstructions, and lack of progress.    I finally feel somewhat optimistic as the Planning Commission has made great progress with both their process and the product.

7 Replies to “Land development code update”

  1. I have a question… this Comp Plan has been a “long time comin”… but do you think that it will have a longer life because of all the extraordinary, intense work that has gone into it?

    What generally creates the compelling need for a revision?

    Will the annexations, assuming the second one also goes through, be covered or will there need to be an addendum of some sort?

    Oops… 3 questions?

    1. In reverse order…annexation is not addressed directly, rather the new land development regulations should have regulations in place to address what happens to newly annexed areas. Currently all newly annexed areas are Ag Holding until rezoned to some other “end use” zoning district. This allows agricultural uses to continue within the city limits, but presumes development is on its way. I’m hoping the new code will have some more finely grained regulations for Ag, Open Space, and how we manage areas which are not intended to develop for a long time (or, as in the area surrounding Spring Brook, perhaps not develop at all or not develop in the usual way).

      What creates a compelling need for a revision…Most of the current code is from 1986 or earlier. Certainly, any revision of the Comp Plan should automatically trigger an update of the land development regulations since they are the official controls used to implement the land use part of the Comp Plan. This did not happen in 2001 and now that we have a second Comp Plan revision adopted in 2008, it is time to update the code to ensure that it will help create the sort of built environment envisioned in the Comp Plan.

      The “extraordinary, intense work” is necessary because the City accepted an inferior product from the consultants which now must be fixed at a truly staggering expense of staff and volunteer time. At this point I think the goal is to produce regulations which will implement the Comp Plan as efficiently and effectively as possible and questions of longevity of regulations are not yet relevant.

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