What One Can Do On One's Land
understanding the talk about zoning issues
Credit: Denver, where growing citizens is the first order of business
Areas of Change—in Seattle —designated urban centers, industrial centers and urban village are the places where new investment would be the most beneficial, and increased density and change of use is appropriate.
Areas of Stability—in Seattle—are all the established residential neighborhoods outside of designated villages and centers where reinvestment and change will occur while the density and type of use will remain largely as it is, unless otherwise designated by a Council adopted neighborhood plan.
Articulated, Articulation mean clear and distinct expression of the joinery or various construction elements of a building in a way that enriches the sense of the whole as experienced by the pedestrian. Traditional buildings acknowledge pedestrian speed with flat wall planes quietly articulated.
Context is the elements which, taken together, comprise a built environment. Context elements include street, block, and lot patterns, as well as land use, and building form and scale.
Context-based Zoning derives zoning regulations from the desirable attributes or development characteristics of existing neighborhoods or planned places (i.e., the "context").
Density is the permitted concentration of residential units in an area of land, or the permitted ratio of building size to land area when there are additional uses or uses other than residential units.
Design Departure—in Seattle— is a formal request to depart from one or more development standards (see) listed in the zoning code as a standard from which, and in consideration of separately published design guidelines (see design standards), departure is allowed. The review process varies depending on the size of the project.
Design Standards are requirements that set a development's appearance and its visual and functional relation to existing or future neighbors. If the word standards is used they are considered development standards (see) and must be as objective as possible. Design requirements associated with conditional approval should be identified as the criteria upon which the conditional approval would be based. Occasionally Seattle has listed conditional criteria within the zoning code, currently it uses separately published design guidelines for discretionary decision-making when projects exceed certain size thresholds and for design departure requests (see).
Development Standards comprise all the requirements that if followed in total and to the letter will result in the issuance of a building permit “as of right,” meaning one has a legal right to that assumption.
Flexible is the opposite of predictable, which is a primary objective of zoning. Odd as it may seem, nature includes zoning codes, so zoning codes need a simple way to protect DNA yet allow change. The measure of a good code is the grace with which it accomplishes both.
Form-Based Zoning emphasizes regulation of building "form" (versus just "use") to assure a building's general shape, massing, height and orientation positively contribute to the existing or desired neighborhood context.
Mixed Use Zoning allows mixing of different land uses, such as residential, retail and office, either in the same building or in the same district/area.
Predictable refers to the primary objective of zoning as in “consistent, predictable, and clear” so as to promote community reinvestment by providing a public form of investment security, especially for those whose primary investment is a home or small business property.
Principles of Zoning are the same two fundamentals of democracy that guide all areas of governmental decision-making—equal protection and due process. All else is technique. Equal protection means equal treatment of persons similarly situated so that a citizen can reasonably predict what the public response will be to his private acts. Due process means a layman is readily able to check the consistency or irresponsibility of public decisions in specific cases.
Rezoning is an action of the City Council to amend the zoning map designation of a property or area, either “upzoning” if the designation is toward more intense development, or “downzoning” if the action is toward less intensity.
Sustainable refers to the long-term social, economic and environmental health of a community.
Transparent means easy to understand, patently fair and obvious.
Transparency, associated with walkable communities, is the total glazed area located on a street-facing story of a building, usually the ground story, divided by the total wall area of that street-facing story.
Multi-Modal refers to giving travelers more choices than simply using their cars, such as rail and bus transit, car pools, walking, biking, and shuttle service.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) aims regulation of land use and design at beautiful, vital, walkable, and affordable new or recycled urban neighborhoods that provide housing, shopping and transportation choices as well as access to the region's jobs, government centers, healthcare facilities and cultural and recreational destinations.
Use-Based Zoning emphasizes regulating the use of buildings or land to assure compatible development within an area or district. Most zoning in the United States remains predominately use-based with mixed-use zones increasingly designated. See, in comparison, "form-based zoning."
Zoning Code is the body of local laws governing what can be built on a property, as well as how it can be used.