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How do communities zone university campuses?
Our city is home to a major university, which is exempt from local land-use regulations under state law. We are looking to access information pertaining to zoning regulation by a local government of development by public institutions of higher education.
There are four basic approaches to zoning university-owned land: (1) special-purpose university zoning districts with extensive use permissions and development standards; (2) special-purpose university or general institutional or public use zoning districts with minimal use permissions and development standards; (3) planned development districts; and (4) explicit use permissions that sanction universities as a permitted use in one or more nonresidential districts.
Typically, communities use special-purpose university zoning districts with extensive use permissions and development standards for campuses (and campus areas) that are subject to local zoning authority. However, these types of districts are comparatively rare. In some instances, the locality may simply be incorporating concepts from existing university-adopted master plans as local standards (whether or not the locality actually has jurisdiction over the land).
As you might expect, communities often use special-purpose university zoning districts with minimal use permissions and development standards for campuses that are not subject to local zoning authority. Here, the zoning designation essentially acts as a placeholder. Theoretically, if the university sold the land for private development, it would also have the effect of preventing new development without a rezoning.
Alternately, many use a general "institutional" zoning district for university-owned land; this designation would also typically be applied to government offices and facilities, hospitals, or other public or nonprofit, institutional uses. While use permissions may vary considerably based on context, development standards may be minimal or extensive depending on whether or not the local zoning authority has jurisdiction over publicly owned lands.
Another common approach is to use a planned development district designation for university-owned lands. In communities with local zoning authority over these lands, the planned development review process allows the locality to review the institution's master plan and suggest modifications before approval. If the locality doesn't have zoning authority, the planned development review may essentially function as a courtesy.
Finally, some places simply list institutions of higher education as permitted uses or conditional uses in one or more nonresidential zoning districts.
- Athens (Ohio), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Title 23: Zoning Code. Chapter 23.02: Zones and Zoning Map. Section 23.04.10: EI Educational Institution Zone. www.municode.com/library/oh/athens/codes/code_of_ordinances
- Blacksburg (Virginia), Town of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Appendix A: Blacksburg Zoning Ordinance. Article III: District Standards. Division 22: University and College District UNIV. www.municode.com/library/va/blacksburg/codes/code_of_ordinances
- Boston (Massachusetts) Redevelopment Authority, City of. 2015. "Institutional Master Plan Review." www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/projects/development-review/institutional-master-plans
- Chapel Hill (North Carolina), Town of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Appendix A: Land Use Management. Article 3: Zoning Districts, Uses, and Dimensional Standards. Section 3.5: Special districts. Subsection 3.5.2: Office/Institutional—4 District. www.municode.com/library/nc/chapel_hill/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_APXALAUSMA
- College Station (Texas), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 12: Unified Development Ordinance. Chapter 5: District Purpose Statements and Supplemental Standards. Section 12-5.3: Non-residential zoning districts. www.municode.com/library/tx/college_station/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CH12UNDEOR
- District of Columbia Office of Zoning. 2008. "DC Zoning Update: Campus/Institutional." www.dczoningupdate.org/campusinstitutional.asp?area=cil
- Durham (North Carolina), City of. 2015. Unified Development Ordinance. Article 4: Zoning Districts. Section 4.4: Planned District Intent Statements. Subsection 4.4.2: University and College District. Article 6: District Intensity Standards. Section 6.11: Planned Districts. Subsection 6.11.4: College and University Districts (UC and UC-2). www.durhamnc.gov/udo/mainPage.asp
- East Lansing (Michigan), City of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 50: Zoning. Article VIII: Other Districts. Division 4: University District. www.municode.com/library/mi/east_lansing/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH50ZO
- Knoxville (Tennessee), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Appendix B: Zoning Regulations. Article IV: Specific District Regulations. Section 2.2.2: O-2 Civic and Institutional District. www.municode.com/library/tn/knoxville/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=APXBZORE_ARTIVSPDIRE_S2BADI_2.2OFCODI_2.2.2CIINDI
- Madison (Wisconsin), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 28: Zoning Code. Subchapter 28G: Special Districts. Section 28-096: Campus-Institutional District. http://legistar.cityofmadison.com/attachments/a7261a03-67a8-413b-a97a-a07f72552155.pdf
- New Brunswick (New Jersey), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Title 17: Zoning. Chapter 17.04: Zoning Districts. Section 17.04.040G: Educational Institutional Zones. Subsection 17.04.040.G.2: IN-2 Institutional District—Cook/Douglas Campus Area. www.municode.com/library/nj/new_brunswick/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT17ZO_CH17.04ZODI_17.04.040ZODIRE
- Newark (Delaware), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 32: Zoning. Article V: Use Regulations for University Districts. www.municode.com/library/de/newark/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CH32ZO_ARTVUSREUNDI
- Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), City of. 2015. "Institutional Master Plans." http://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/zoning/imp
- Portland (Oregon), City of. 2015. "Institutional Zoning Project." www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/63692
- Seattle (Washington) Department of Neighborhoods, City of. 2015. "Major Institutions and Schools." www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/mi/
- Somerville (Massachusetts), City of. 2011. Zoning Ordinance. Section 6.1: Division of City into Districts. Section 8.7: Dimensional Requirements Applicable to the University District. www.municode.com/library/ma/somerville/codes/zoning_ordinances?nodeId=ZONING_ORD_SOMERVILLE_MASSACHUSETTS_ART8DIRE_S8.7DIREAPUNDI
- Syracuse (New York), City of. 2015. Zoning Ordinance. Part B: District Regulations. Section VIII: Institutional Districts. Article 1: Planned Institutional District. www.syracuse.ny.us/Zoning_Ordinances.aspx
- Tuscaloosa (Alabama), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 24: Zoning. Article VI: Institutional District Regulations. www.municode.com/library/al/tuscaloosa/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_CH24ZO_ARTVIINDIRE_S24-81STININDI
Related PAS Products
- Sitler, Dan, Michael Rudden, Rob Holzman, and George Homsy. 2006. "Town-Gown Partnerships for Success." PAS Memo, May/June. www.planning.org/pas/memo/2006/may/