Lessons for In-House Zoning Revisions

Zoning Practice — May 2015

By Somer Cross, AICP


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A comprehensive zoning revision can be a contentious, lengthy, and expensive process. While there are many well-known and well-educated consultants across the country who specialize in updating zoning codes, there are numerous benefits to staff-led revisions.

Staff members have intimate knowledge of a community, including an understanding of which issues are driving the zoning reform, what changes will be palatable to the community, and what already works or does not work in the existing zoning ordinance. Also, in-house revision projects can be less expensive than hiring a consultant. For those reasons, when faced with outdated and confusing zoning ordinances, communities should consider the option of revising the document themselves, rather than hiring outside consultants.

This issue of Zoning Practice uses lessons learned from specific in-house revision processes to highlight a series of recommendations for communities considering staff-led comprehensive zoning amendments. These recommendations address getting started, coordination with comprehensive planning, gathering information, and implementation.


Page Count
Date Published
May 1, 2015
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Somer Cross, AICP